Alas­tair Cook says he de­served the axe

The New Age (Gauteng) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

ALAS­TAIR Cook said the se­lec­tors would have been en­ti­tled to drop him over his poor form, be­fore his mas­ter­ful dou­ble-cen­tury put Eng­land in a winning po­si­tion in the fourth Ashes Test.

The un­flap­pable open­ing bats­man crushed Aus­tralia’s hopes of sweep­ing the five­Test se­ries with an un­beaten 244 yes­ter­day to put the tourists 164 runs ahead of Aus­tralia with two days left.

The Ashes are al­ready gone af­ter Eng­land lost the open­ing three Tests, with Cook con­tribut­ing just 83 runs in six in­nings. But he made at least partial amends with his tow­er­ing dou­ble­cen­tury.

Cook, 33, said he would have un­der­stood be­ing dropped, but he bounced back in the Box­ing Day Test to present his team with a rare chance of vic­tory.

“They would have been en­ti­tled just be­cause I lit­er­ally hadn’t scored a run since Edg­bas­ton,” Cook said, re­fer­ring to his 243 against the West Indies in Au­gust.

“I al­ways felt I’ve got the back­ing of the se­lec­tors but you’ve still got to de­liver the goods, I hadn’t done that on this tour. It was frus­trat­ing.”

At the close, Cook had been at the crease for 634 min­utes and faced 409 balls to deny the Aus­tralians de­spite be­ing dropped twice on 66 and 153 by Steve Smith.

Cook broke a num­ber of records along the way. He sur­passed the high­est score by a vis­it­ing bats­man in a Mel­bourne Test, bet­ter­ing the 208 by West In­dian great Viv Richards in 1984.

He ear­lier went past Wally Ham­mond’s 200 set back in 1928 as the high­est Test score at the MCG by an English­man.

Cook’s fifth dou­ble cen­tury also cat­a­pulted him above West In­dian Brian Lara to be­come the sixth high­est runget­ter in Test cricket with 11 956.

“It’s prob­a­bly been one of the more emo­tional (ones) from where I’d been on this tour,” Cook said.

“I’ve doubted my­self for 12 years and I’ll prob­a­bly con­tinue to doubt my­self but ob­vi­ously the longer it goes the harder it be­comes.

“But I sup­pose that’s why I can be quite proud of go­ing to the well again and de­liv­er­ing a per­for­mance like that was pleas­ing.

“It’s just a shame it’s three or four weeks too late, I’ll have to live with that for a long time but it’s nice to score a few.”

The for­mer cap­tain said he had been work­ing hard in the nets to re­cap­ture form and felt he had re­dis­cov­ered his scor­ing rhythm.

“I’ve al­ways worked hard on my whole game and my ap­proach to cricket, so un­for­tu­nately most of my runs are pretty ugly runs and quite hard work, that hasn’t changed through­out my whole ca­reer,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously, with my bat­ting over a pe­riod of time, there are quite a few mov­ing parts to it. When they’re not quite in sync it can be quite frus­trat­ing.” – AFP

PIC­TURE: GALLO IM­AGES

UN­FLAP­PABLE: Eng­land bats­man Alas­tair Cook crushed Aus­tralia’s hopes of sweep­ing the se­ries with an un­beaten 244 runs.

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