Alastair Cook sees third morning of second Test as session which cost England

Published: Monday 26th October 2015 by The News Editor

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Alastair Cook admits England deservedly lost the second Test – because they batted so poorly in the first innings.

Adil Rashid came close to rescuing the tourists with a wonderfully resolute maiden Test half-century, until he was last out with 6.3 overs remaining in Dubai.

Pakistan therefore won by 178 runs after bowling England out for 312, to go 1-0 up with one to play in Sharjah next week.

Number eight Rashid (61) batted for almost exactly four hours until a late lapse of concentration cost his wicket – and England a possible stalemate.

The Yorkshire all-rounder came in at 178 for six before lunch as England, set a world-record 491 to win, were fighting a losing battle against spinners Yasir Shah (four for 87) and Zulfiqar Babar (three for 53).

He played barely a false shot until, after half-century stands with numbers nine and 10 Stuart Broad and Mark Wood, he poked a catch off Shah through a packed close field and straight to Zulfiqar at cover.

Cook insisted, however, that the match was ‘lost’ much earlier than that – in a hapless collapse on the third morning from 206 for three to 242 all out, handing the hosts a lead of 136.

The England captain did not give up hope on the final day, but gnawing away at him was the fact that the damage was long since done.

“You always have faith and belief in the team … (but) I always thought we were two wickets ahead of where we should have been,” he said of England’s attempted second-innings rearguard.

“When Woody walked out with 40 overs to go, it didn’t look quite so encouraging.

“But he can bat…and as that partnership grew and grew, people sat stiller and stiller and didn’t move as much.

“The belief started to happen. But it was a long way back from that third morning – and we probably didn’t deserve to get out of jail, however well Adil played.”

Cook was left to regret another batting collapse then, and to confess England are still prone to them.

He said: “You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realise [that problem], when you lose seven for 60.

“If you bat 75 overs in the first innings and 140 in the second, it shows how badly we played in the first.

“It happens too often at the moment as a side. It’s a real frustration.”

It was a spell from seamer Wahab Riaz which caused England’s problems first time round.

Cook added: “Full credit to Riaz – he bowled really well, 90mph reverse-swing from different angles with some short stuff thrown in, so we aren’t saying it’s easy.

“But it’s a realisation that it’s a tough moment, and for 45 minutes ‘I’ve got to suck it up’.

“You have to try and get through…’he’s got 30 balls in this spell, get through that then it gets a bit easier’.

“We talk about it, we’ve spoken with [batting consultant] Mahela (Jayawardene)…now we’ve got to do it. (But) we didn’t.

“Credit to the way they bowled. But we didn’t bat well in that two hours, and it’s cost us.

“However good a spell of bowling is, you can’t lose seven for 60.”

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq senses Pakistan have exposed a weakness in England’s middle order, below prolific number four Joe Root.

“In both the innings, they struggled – and that’s a difference between the two teams,” he said.

“(Ben) Stokes has been doing well for England, and so has (Jos) Buttler. But not scoring here in those positions is making a difference for them.”

Rashid’s outstanding innings ended cruelly for England, but Pakistan were not complaining.

“Obviously it was tense in the end, because it was touch and go…but a win is win, no matter how close,” added Misbah.

Cook, meanwhile, must pick up Rashid and team-mates for the final Test – for which he is confident he will be fit, despite a minor groin injury.

He said: “A few of us would like our shots back – I was one of them as well.

“You never mean to get out or mess up, and Adil would love to have that shot back – especially given how well he played the other 170 balls.”

Cook has played 119 Tests consecutively, since he missed his scheduled third with a stomach upset in India in 2006.

He said: “My body has been pretty good to me over quite a long period of time.

“It was a little bit discomforting and a bit of a concern, but it’s pulled up a bit better today. It should be fine.”

Published: Monday 26th October 2015 by The News Editor

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