Alastair Cook defends tactics after England denied victory by India in first Test

 
Frank Dalleres
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Cook scored his 30th Test century as England drew with India in Rajkot (Source: Getty)

England captain Alastair Cook rejected accusations of excessive conservatism after India held on to deny the tourists victory on the final day of the first Test in Rajkot on Sunday.

Cook waited until his team had a lead of 309 before putting India back into bat as England looked to become the first team to beat the world’s No1 Test side on home soil for four years.

England scented victory when India slipped to 71-4, but a classy knock of 49 not out from Virat Kohli steered his side to safety.

Read more: Seamer James Anderson hands England major boost

“We bowled brilliantly and I have absolutely no regrets about the declarations,” said Cook, who notched his 30th Test century.

“It’s very easy when you’re sitting at home or when you’re not responsible for the result to say you should set them 250. But in modern-day cricket now I think they would have had every chance of chasing 250 on that wicket.”

Encouragement for England

Despite missing the chance to take a lead into Thursday’s second Test, England could draw comfort from a dominant display in start contrast to their poor finish to the preceding series in Bangladesh.

Teenage opener Haseeb Hameed’s 82 capped a fine debut and rubber-stamped an encouraging England batting display that featured first-innings centuries from Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes, while spinner Adil Rashid’s figures of 7-178 earned him man of the match.

“I couldn’t ask for much more from the 11 guys who played. I thought we put a really good game together,” Cook added.

“Yes, it was a good toss to win but you’ve still got to go and get them and three hundreds in the first innings was really pleasing, especially after what happened in Bangladesh.”

England miss chances

Cook’s declaration gave England 49 overs to bowl India out and they made an ideal start just a few balls in when Gautam Gambhir gloved a Chris Woakes delivery to Root.

England dropped Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara before they and Ajinkya Rahane departed in quick succession, but Kohli and Ravi Ashwin (32) steered India towards a welcome draw.

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