Jen­nings to be Cook’s lat­est open­ing part­ner for Eng­land

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MUM­BAI: Keaton Jen­nings will make his Eng­land de­but as cap­tain Alas­tair Cook’s lat­est open­ing part­ner in the fourth and penul­ti­mate test against In­dia at the Wankhede Sta­dium to­day.

Left­hander Jen­nings will re­place teenager Haseeb Hameed, who broke his lit­tle fin­ger dur­ing Eng­land’s de­feat in the third test in Mo­hali and re­turned home to un­dergo surgery.

Jen­nings, the son of South African for­mer wick­et­keeper and coach Ray, ar­rived in In­dia only on Mon­day af­ter be­ing called up from the Eng­land Lions squad in the United Arab Emirates.

“He’s go­ing to play. He’s go­ing to open the bat­ting and an­other great op­por­tu­nity for a guy to come in and play,” Cook told re­porters, adding he was re­minded of his own de­but in 2006 when he flew into In­dia 48 hours ahead of the game and hit a cen­tury in Nag­pur.

“He’s in good touch, spend­ing bit of time in the mid­dle with the Lions, get­ting hun­dreds and stuff. Pretty spe­cial day for him to­mor­row.”

The 24-year-old Jen­nings, who scored six cen­turies for county side Durham last sea­son, is Cook’s 11th part­ner at the top of the or­der in the game’s long­est for­mat since the re­tire­ment of An­drew Strauss four years ago.

Cook said the fre­quent changes of his open­ing part­ner did not im­pact his own bat­ting. “It doesn’t re­ally af­fect me,” the 31-year-old said. “You don’t just bat with your open­ing part­ner, you bat with peo­ple at three, four, five as well.

“I will just make sure Keaton plays the way he wants to play, keep him calm I sup­pose. Ob­vi­ously it’s dis­ap­point­ing about Has, we ob­vi­ously found a player there.

“But if Keaton comes in and does well again, it’s just adding to our top-or­der play­ers.” Fast bowler Stu­art Broad, who suf­fered a foot in­jury dur­ing the sec­ond test in Visakha­p­at­nam and sub­se­quently missed the game in Mo­hali, was still doubt­ful for the Mum­bai match, Cook added.

The Wankhede Sta­dium, over­look­ing the Ara­bian Sea, has been a happy hunt­ing ground for Eng­land, who have won their last two test matches against the hosts at the venue in 2012 and 2006. Eng­land made a strong start to the series in Ra­jkot when they made In­dia fight hard in their sec­ond in­nings to eke out a draw but lost the next two tests to trail 2-0 against the world’s num­ber one test side.

They drew lot of flak for de­fen­sive bat­ting while chas­ing an im­prob­a­ble 405 to win the sec­ond test and coach Trevor Bayliss said it was time for the side to show more pos­i­tive in­tent.

“It’s a clear mes­sage I knew was com­ing out,” Cook said. “We do have to take that sec­ond in­nings in Vizag out of it, where we played that way.

“But I won­der whether that did kind of tie into the third game and there was a bit of hang­over and we did go back into our shells a bit.

“Af­ter chat­ting around a bit I think it was quite clear mes­sage that we wanted to play a lit­tle bit more ag­gres­sively and with a bit more in­tent.”

— AFP

MUM­BAI: Eng­land crick­eters play foot­ball dur­ing the train­ing ses­sion at the Wankhede sta­dium ahead of the fourth Test cricket match be­tween In­dia and Eng­land in Mum­bai yes­ter­day.

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