Cook wilts again as India rack up batting records

 
Frank Dalleres
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ENGLAND fast-bowler Stuart Broad attempted to defend Alastair Cook last night after the captain’s batting woes continued and India took a firm grip on the first Test at Trent Bridge.

Cook – without a Test century for 14 months and on the losing side in six of the last seven matches – made just five runs before being bowled round his legs and off his pad by Mohammed Shami.

That came after India had exasperated England with a record last-wicket stand of 111, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami both scoring maiden Test 50s to carry the tourists to 457.

England, who reached 43-1 in response before stumps on day two, face a huge task to wrestle back momentum, though Broad scoured the landscape for positives and refused to blame Cook.

“I’m sure Cooky would have been more disappointed in the changing room if he’d nicked off to fifth stump, rather than being bowled round his legs off his thigh pad,” said the Nottinghamshire seamer.

“It is one of those dismissals that you can’t do a huge amount about, and he’ll be looking forward to batting in the second innings.

“If we can get a good start and build, I’m sure the Indian bowlers won’t be looking forward to bowling at Ben Stokes coming in at No8 when you’re a bit tired. We can certainly get a big score if we get our heads down.”

Four wickets for two runs post-lunch gave England renewed hope after Cook’s creative fielding had come to little, but Kumar and Shami’s resistance chipped away at the hosts’ spirit and moved India to a position from which defeat looks scarcely possible.