ENGLAND cricket captain Alastair Cook is ready to hand left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan another Test chance after resorting to bowling himself in a vain attempt to beat India in the first Test yesterday.
Cook provided an unlikely highlight in the final session of a draw at Trent Bridge when he claimed his maiden Test wicket, as he granted seamers weary from pounding a flat wicket a welcome rest.
The skipper hopes that Lord’s provides more assistance to his pacemen when the second Test begins on Thursday, but believes Kerrigan – last night named in a 14-man squad – can be a potent weapon if conditions are conducive to spin, despite the Lancashire player conceding 53 off eight overs in his only previous England outing.
“Clearly he had a tough experience in the one Test he played. He’s been good around us and bowled beautifully in the nets,” said Cook, whose team have not won in nine matches.
“We want to have an option in case it’s hot and dry at Lord’s and might spin more. Simon is a tough lad. He went away with the Lions and did well. I have no doubt in his toughness and he will be a fine bowler for England.
“We are seeing a lot of dry weather. If we get a pitch with pace and bounce that [England] attack will be hard to bat against but we haven’t had one of those wickets so we have to have a contingency plan.
“We can score heavy runs once we get in, and we know we can put their top order under pressure. We just need a pitch with a bit of life in it.”
England scented a chance to bat again when they took three quick wickets in the morning, Stuart Broad striking twice on his home ground, leaving India on 184-6.
Debutant batsman Stuart Binny (78) increased the tourists’ lead to more than 200, before they finally declared on 391-9, an advantage of 252.
By then Cook had provided a diversion with his first Test scalp, having Ishant Sharma (13) caught by wicketkeeper Matt Prior down the leg side.
It was not the only encouraging moment for the under-fire captain, having seen Joe Root and James Anderson earn England an unlikely first-innings lead with a world record 10th-wicket partnership of 198 on Saturday, but their winless run is now the worst since 1992-93 and they head to London desperate for a victory.