Decision to retain Cook as skipper has been vindicated, says Bayliss

 
Ross McLean
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Cook may only have scored 32 with the bat but his captaincy has been praised by Bayliss
ENGLAND head coach Trevor Bayliss has hailed the leadership skills of skipper Alastair Cook in the wake of his side’s crushing defeat of Australia in the first Investec Ashes Test of the summer on Saturday.

A rampant England demolished Australia by 169 runs inside four days at Cardiff to take a 1-0 series lead, showcasing the same brand of attacking cricket which was evident during the Test and one-day clashes with New Zealand earlier this season.

Cook’s captaincy has been under constant scrutiny ever since the left-handed opener took the reins from Andrew Strauss in August 2012, while his tactics have often been criticised for being bland and conservative.

But despite Cook failing to maintain his resurgent form with the bat – he notched scores of 20 and 12 in the Welsh capital – Bayliss insists the decision made before his appointment to retain England’s leading Test run-scorer as captain has been vindicated.

“I thought his captaincy was top notch,” said Australian Bayliss. “He is a very calm operator and very well respected by the players in the team.

“Most of the good captains are not only leaders of the team, but they lead the way in their attitude. He’s a fantastic batsman and I think that the decision to stick with Alastair has been justified because his captaincy in the game was fantastic.”

England have named an unchanged 13-man squad for the second Test at Lord’s, which starts on Thursday.