Cook puts England’s collapse down to early tour rustiness

ENGLAND opener Alastair Cook admits he and his team-mates are still blowing off the cobwebs following an eventful second day of their tour match against an ICC Combined XI in Dubai.

An adventurous and somewhat daring declaration from skipper Andrew Strauss could still back-fire, despite Stuart Broad taking his match haul to six wickets and reducing England’s opponents to 90-5 at the close with a lead of 185.

Earlier, Strauss had been among one of the England batsmen to struggle in what appeared less than threatening conditions. But Cook, who top scored with 76 and was the only member of his side to pass 20 before his skipper called an end to the innings on 185-8, insisted a certain amount rustiness is only to expected at this stage of the tour.

“It wasn’t ideal. I think we have to put that down to a little bit of rustiness,” Cook (left) said of a batting display which featured a collapse of six wickets for 52 runs. “But credit to the opposition and I thought Boyd Rankin bowled very well.

“I think when you haven’t batted outside for probably four months, with whites and a red ball, it does take a while to get into that rhythm. But it’s not the end of the world.

“I think, if we’d batted better, we still would have pulled out early in order to set up a game.”