Cook praises his bowlers for neu­tral­is­ing Wat­son

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

ENG­LAND cap­tain Alastair Cook says com­ing up with bowl­ing plans for em­bat­tled Aus­tralian star Shane Wat­son isn’t as sim­ple as his chronic sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to get­ting out lbw would sug­gest.

Wat­son’s dou­ble sur­ren­der in Aus­tralia’s 169- run de­feat in Cardiff made it 29 times in his ca­reer he’s been out lbw, and the 14th oc­ca­sion it’s hap­pened against Eng­land.

The 24- year- old all- rounder is now fight­ing to hold his place in Test cricket as a re­sult of an in­her­ent in­abil­ity to get his front pad out of the way against qual­ity seam bowl­ing — with Stu­art Broad and Mark Wood get­ting his num­ber in the first Test.

Wat­son lbw was the story of the 2013 Ashes tour, but de­spite history now re­peat­ing it­self, Cook said Eng­land’s bowlers de­served credit for ex­e­cut­ing so well against a world­class bats­man.

“Like all play­ers, he has a weak­ness, but you can’t just go for the stumps,” said Cook.

“He’s too good a player for that. The skills of our four seam­ers, it’s not just about go­ing gun bar­rel straight.

“But you know if you put the ball on or around off- stump, you might get the out­side edge as well.

“The guys bowled their bat­ters.”

Cook said the most cru­cial el­e­ment of Eng­land’s em­phatic out­ing in Cardiff was the fact any de­mons against Aus­tralia

well

at have been ex­or­cised. The 2013- 14 white­wash in Aus­tralia now a dis­tant mem­ory.

“It’s im­por­tant for this group of play­ers to show we can com­pete with Aus­tralia,” he said.

“If we do the ba­sics well we can put Aus­tralia un­der pres­sure.

We have guys who can ex­press them­selves, and we are a dan­ger­ous side.”

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