Skipper can’t recall a better performance from an Englishman Down Under and claims his side have crucial momentum
ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss hailed Alastair Cook’s match saving double hundred as the greatest Ashes innings by an Englishman in Australia.
Cook’s maiden first class double hundred shattered numerous records as his second-wicket partnership with Jonathon Trott helped not only to draw the game, but also to hammer away at Australia’s already fragile confidence.
And Strauss believes the Essex opener’s marathon 10 hour effort has helped sway the series momentum in England’s favour ahead of the second Test in Adelaide which begins on Friday.
Strauss (right) said: “I’m not great on cricketing history, but you’d be hard-pressed to think of a better innings in Australia. It must be a long time ago that a player batted as well as Cooky did, with the concentration to see it through for such a long time. It’s one of the really special innings from an England player.”
When Strauss finally declared at a scarcely believable 517-1, Cook was undefeated on 235 having surpassed Donald Bradman’s highest score of 226 at the Gabba, and the partnership of 329 with Trott, who finished 135 not out, was a record for any England wicket in Australia.
But all that mattered to England at the close was that they had rescued the Test having been staring down the barrel of an innings defeat at the end of the third day.
“It’s just great we came back into the game, managed to get a draw and finished so strongly,” said Strauss. “There’s not a long turnaround before Adelaide and both sets of players will be keen to come out strong on the first morning.
“Everyone talks about how important the first Test is against Australia in Brisbane, so to get through that from the position we were in is a great effort.”
For Cook, 25, confidence could hardly be higher, and yet it wasn’t so long ago that his position was under threat, before a gutsy century against Pakistan this summer at The Oval earned him a reprieve.
He said: “It’s amazing how quickly it turns round. If you keep working at the right things and keep believing you’re a good player, you get results. The dark days against Pakistan makes this extra special. The hundred at The Oval was a great boost. To back it up here is very pleasing.”
Australia finished on 107-1, chasing a nominal target of 297, with Ricky Ponting (right) thumping a 40 ball half-century.
The Aussie skipper was reluctant to concede that England had siezed the initiative, but the immediate call-up of seamers Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris suggets Autralia are hastily redrawing their battle plans
“I don't think anyone is certain [to play] yet,” Ponting said. “The fact we have brought two fast bowlers in, I’m not sure if anyone is certain.”