Centurion Cook comes of age to guide England home

ALASTAIR COOK admits he can still improve on his leadership qualities despite continuing his 100 per cent record as captain with an impressive nine-wicket victory in the second Test with Bangladesh yesterday.

The Essex opener smashed an inspirational unbeaten 109, his 12th Test century, to help steer England to their target of 209 with 11 overs to spare.

His innings brought a fitting end to a successful tour for Cook, who, standing in for regular skipper Andrew Strauss, also led the side to a 3-0 win in the ODI series.

But although the 25-year-old was delighted with his team’s performance in Bangladesh, he openly admits he is still learning the trade.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more on the tour, we were expected to win 3-0 and 2-0 and we have,” said Cook, who was also top scorer for the series with 342 runs from the two Tests. “It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of credit goes to Bangladesh for the way they’ve made us work, especially in the last 10 days, and it’s a very satisfying feeling.

“But the captaincy had its moments. I now know how I need to get better as a captain, especially with my leadership in the dressing room.

“Areas like that that I need to work on. I couldn’t have asked for any more support from the players and coaches and I can now go back, speak to a few people, and get the best out of myself as a captain.

I didn’t really know what would happen as a captain so there were eye-openers, but they will have to stay private for me to develop as a captain.”

Cook was supported in his match-winning knock by a breezy 74 from Kevin Pietersen after four wickets from debutant James Tredwell had earlier dismissed the Tigers for 285.