England seamer James Anderson has called on Alastair Cook to remain as skipper despite leading his side to the brink of a series drubbing against India.
The tourists slumped to 182-6 in their second innings of the fourth Test in Mumbai and still require another 49 runs in order to make their dominant hosts bat again after a Virat Kohli-inspired India racked up a mammoth 631.
Kohli struck 235, his third double century of 2016, as he and tail-ender Jayant Yadav shared a 241-run stand for the eighth wicket before England’s collapse, despite a knock of 77 from vice-captain Joe Root and an unbeaten 50 from Jonny Bairstow.
Cook’s leadership in this series, which England are set to trail 3-0, has come under the microscope, while there has been speculation the 31-year-old may choose to relinquish the captaincy and focus on his batting.
Asked if he thought Cook would stay as skipper, Anderson said: “I’ve no idea, I hope so. He’s still very keen to be England captain as far as I’m aware, I still think he wants to be captain.
“I know I’m biased because I’m his good friend, but I think he’s still a very good captain.”
Anderson, meanwhile, was not shy in lamenting the quality of England’s bowling during a torrid morning session at the Wankhede Stadium, which started with India boasting a lead of just 51 as they resumed on 451-7.
“We came here thinking if we got three wickets quickly we were in the game,” added Anderson. “Unfortunately that didn’t happen. It was probably our worst morning of the whole tour from a bowling point of view. We were clawing it back from there.
“To be fair, the fielding was pretty good, as was the energy. When the ball is flying around it is harder. You need to be led by the bowlers and we didn’t have that.”
England’s reply to Kohli’s prowess began with first innings centurion Keaton Jennings falling lbw to seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar first ball. Cook then departed for 18 and Moeen Ali also failed to trouble the scorers.
Yorkshireman Root provided stoic resistance before being trapped in front by Yadav, while Ravichandran Ashwin accounted for Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes and nightwatchman Jake Ball as England slipped towards a seventh Test loss of 2016.