Cook is the perfect man to shrug off batting pressure, insists Root

Ross McLean
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ENGLAND vice-captain Joe Root has hailed the tide-turning qualities of skipper Alastair Cook ahead of the second Test against New Zealand at Headingley, which starts tomorrow.

Despite no player scoring more Test runs in the last decade than Cook, the 30-year-old’s position at the top of the England batting order had come under scrutiny after he failed to hit a century in 35 Test innings.

Cook ended that barren streak with a ton during England’s defeat to the West Indies in Barbados earlier this month and repeated the feat this week at Lord’s with a score of 162 -- his 27th Test hundred -- under immense pressure as his side were forced to overturn a 134-run first-innings deficit.

“Without Cook’s innings, we would not have won the match, it is as simple as that,” said Root, who notched scores of 98 and 84 as England beat New Zealand by 124 runs.“The way he played was exceptional and he does the things that others don’t want to do. It is why he is so good, he performs under pressure. To see him come into form in such an important summer is fantastic. He will be desperate to back that up.”

England hold an unassailable lead in the two-Test series against the Black Caps but will be looking for another morale-boosting victory ahead of the arrival of new head coach Trevor Bayliss and impending Ashes clash with Australia.