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India v England | Alastair Cook calls for top order to pull their weight

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SportsCafe Desk

12/02/2016

England skipper Alastair Cook has stressed on the need for their top order to deliver on Indian wickets, and said they were simply “not good enough” to take the opportunity after winning the toss in Mohali. Cook also expects “turn and bounce” on offer in the fourth Test in Mumbai starting on Dec 8.

The tourists failed to post a big score in their first innings despite winning the toss in the third Test in Mohali and were bowled out for 283. Cook said anything below 400 on that pitch was a failure. England trail 2-0 in the five-Test series.

“It’s frustrating that we had an opportunity to get ahead of the game and we were not good enough to take it. In this part of the world, you just know that you need a big score, certainly on a wicket like that,” he told reporters.

“There is no hiding behind it. We were not good enough to do that. Obviously, Jonny (Bairstow) got a good 80-odd but we need 100s like we did in Rajkot. It was not too much of a different wicket, to be brutally honest. Probably a little bit harder to score here than it was there – 400 was par and we were below it.

“And it hurts you in this part of the world. You just have to hold your hands up and say we were not good enough to get that 400. It doesn’t just happen. You don’t just win the toss and someone gives you 400. You have to go out and play well to do it.”

The visitors were pushed back by injury to opener Haseeb Hameed that saw the teenager bat at No 8 in the second innings.

“It’s not ideal when you lose your opener and he busts his hand and everyone has to move up. But that happens once a year maybe, and that’s the second innings. We were behind the game in the first innings,” he said.

“There were no magic balls being bowled, really. Probably Jonny’s is the only one which was a very good piece of bowling. A couple of balls before (from Jayant Yadav) skidded on past the outside edge, the other one turned but apart from that, the pitch was behaving.

“It was good, accurate bowling as you expect from India in these conditions. But it was not unplayable. You can talk whatever way you want but the top-order has to go and deliver.”

Fast bowlers have traditionally done well in Mohali.

“If we had known what we know now, we would have probably gone in with four seamers and two spinners. The seamers were always in the game, with a bit of reverse and the way we bash lengths, we can control the scoring rate very well,” he said.

“I looked at that wicket along with a number of people before the game, we thought it was dry. We all thought it was going to spin a lot more. In hindsight, we would have played four and two but I am quite happy with my decision because I thought it’s the right one at that time.”

England need to win in Mumbai to stay alive in the series.

“Mumbai obviously can spin. Last time we were here, it did spin and bounce quite a lot, the spinners took a lot of wickets. Sometimes you like to see what four (seamers) and two (spinners) does but it would have been a big gamble on this wicket if it would have been turning like it did in Bangladesh. We will have a look but I imagine in Mumbai, it will be turning and bouncing, it normally does,” Cook said.

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