BELEAGUERED England captain Alastair Cook received the backing of his coaches last night despite yet another batting failure helping India to take a stranglehold on the second Test at Lord’s.
Cook (22) was one of three late England wickets for just two runs as the hosts finished day four on 105-4, 214 short of the total they need to avoid falling behind in the series today. Murali Vijay’s 95 and a 99-run eighth-wicket stand between controversial all-rounder Ravinder Jadeja (68) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (52) had earlier carried India to 342 all out.
A run of nine England Tests without victory looks set to continue, heaping further pressure on a woefully off-form Cook, yet assistant coach Paul Farbrace insisted the opener had let nobody down.
“Not at all. We look at it as a team, you lose as a team and you win as a team,” he said. “Everybody on the team is always looking for better performances. He’s fine. He’s in there chatting to the two lads who are not out, talking about the day tomorrow and looking forward to the scrap tomorrow. He’s absolutely fine.”
Joe Root and Moeen Ali (15 and 14 not out) resume this morning charged with reviving a second innings dented by the late scalps of Cook, Ian Bell (5) and Gary Ballance (79).
England had started a gripping day in promising style, Liam Plunkett, Moeen and James Anderson dismissing India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Stuart Binny and Vijay in the morning to leave the tourists 235-7.
Jadeja, whose alleged altercation with Anderson during the first Test at Trent Bridge could see both men face disciplinary action, regained the momentum with a confident display before becoming one of Ben Stokes’s three wickets – and Cook’s second catch of the day.