‘Whenever he’s backed into a corner he does something rather special’: Joe Root calls on Alastair Cook to repeat his Southampton heroics of four years ago against India
- Alastair Cook arrived in 2014 following nine Test innings without a half-century
- He replied with 95 and 70 not out, this time he has one fifty from last 14 innings
- England captain Joe Root is hoping he bats himself out of a hole once more
Joe Root has called on Alastair Cook to repeat his Southampton heroics of four years ago and prolong his Test career with runs against India.
Cook arrived at the Ageas Bowl in 2014 after a sequence of nine Test innings without a half-century, but responded with 95 and 70 not out as England squared the series. This time, he has one fifty from his last 14 innings – and his captain is hoping he bats himself out of a hole once more.
‘I’d love nothing more than him to go out and make a big double-hundred,’ said Root on the eve of the crucial fourth Test. ‘Whenever he’s backed into a corner he does something rather special. It would be good for him to go out and play a big innings as he has done on a number of occasions, and see him back at his absolute best.’
Joe Root has called on Alastair Cook to repeat his Southampton heroics of four years ago
Back then, Cook’s poor form was exacerbated by doubts over his captaincy, following England’s 2013-14 Ashes whitewash and a home defeat by Sri Lanka. And the ovation he received left a lump in his team-mates’ throat.
‘I remember being sat in the dressing-room almost a little bit emotional for him,’ said Root. ‘It was nice to have that support heard from outside our four walls. That was the feeling within the group – how much he means to the squad. We are fully aware of what he’s capable of doing.’
But Root knows his side will need more than one big innings to keep at bay an upbeat Indian side who, after their victory at Trent Bridge, fancy their chances of becoming only the third team in Test history to win from 2-0 down.
England captain Root is hoping Cook bats himself out of a hole once more against India
‘We underperformed last week, that’s the bottom line,’ he said. And we’ve got a great opportunity to put that right this time around. We’re very good at bouncing back from difficult weeks. And I don’t expect anything less from the group this time.’
It’s 10 years since England last lost successive home Tests, and Root called on his side to emulate the fighting spirit shown by Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes during their second-innings stand of 169 in Nottingham.
‘It was a fine partnership and a great example for the guys of how to play Test cricket in difficult circumstances,’ said the England captain. ‘It was good lesson to the rest coming into this week.’
In 2014 Cook responded with 95 and 70 not out after nine Test innings without a half-century