Cricket Comment: Cook faces axe if skipper can’t make big score

Andy Lloyd
IT MIGHT have been an agonising margin that separated England from victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test this week, but now the dust has settled it’s time to look at what went wrong.

The biggest disappointment for the hosts was the performance of the opening batsmen, on what was a batter’s pitch at Lord’s, and it is now becoming a real concern for coach Peter Moores.

Sam Robson, the latest to be tried alongside Alastair Cook, did not excel but the Middlesex player deserves another chance. One match doesn’t tell us much about what he can offer.

Cook, however, is an increasing worry. He hasn’t scored a Test century for more than a year and is in dire need of runs, otherwise there will be big questions about his status as skipper. If he was a brilliant tactician he would be safer, but is far too conservative in all that he does on a cricket pitch.

Cook waited to declare before setting Sri Lanka a target of 390 when 300 would have been enough. Sure, it would have allowed them a sniff, but it would also have given England ample time to bowl them out. He might argue that he didn’t have the confidence in his team to declare earlier, but the other side of the coin is that he needs to show belief in them in order to get the best out of them.

Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer. He has also served as captain and chairman of Warwickshire.