x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

England captain Cook lauds team effort in a win that ‘people will remember’

England captain Alastair Cook smiles up into the sun as he stands at the winning presentation  ceremony. Matt Dunham / AP Photo
England captain Alastair Cook smiles up into the sun as he stands at the winning presentation ceremony. Matt Dunham / AP Photo

Alastair Cook hailed a near-perfect performance from England as they recorded their first Test win in almost a year.

Victory by 266 runs over India in the third Test at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton ended a 10-Test run without a win – a run that featured only two draws.

“It was a good performance right from Day 1,” Cook said. “I don’t think we lost a session. Every single one of the XI has contributed to a great win.

“Getting 570 [in the first innings] was a great start, then we bowled them out, got runs quickly and put pressure on them, then got them out again.”

In an inexperienced line-up, the likes of Moeen Ali, Sam Robson, Gary Ballance and Chris Woakes had not tasted Test victory before.

“There was a bit of a scramble for the stumps for their first win, people will remember that for a long time,” Cook said.

The captain’s much-needed score of 95 in the first innings set the tone for big hundreds from Ballance and Ian Bell and a rapid 85 from debutant wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, and eased questions over his own form.

“I said at Lord’s I thought my game was heading back in the right direction and to back it up, I’m incredibly pleased,” Cook said. “I was frustrated I didn’t get the hundred in the first innings but to get 160 runs [in the match], I’ll certainly take that.”

James Anderson was named man of the match after his five for 53 in the first innings and seven wickets in the match, while spinner Moeen wrapped up the Indian second innings with six for 67.

“His bowling has come on leaps and bounds from the beginning of the summer,” Cook said of the Worcestershire all-rounder. “Credit to Mo, he’s worked incredibly hard.

“He’s a bit part-time backing up [Saeed] Ajmal at Worcestershire but he’s bowled a huge amount in the nets with the guys here.”

Regarding Buttler, Cook said: “It was a brilliant debut, he came in, in a brilliant situation and was very attacking, it was good to watch. And the good thing is nobody is talking about his keeping, he had a good game all round.”

Anderson, who conceded uncertainty over his prospects at a disciplinary hearing today, which could see him banned for the remaining Tests at Old Trafford and the Oval, paid tribute to the team.

“It could quite easily be Gary or Ian Bell,” he said on collecting his award. “They batted very well and set the game up for us. Then we bowled well today and Moeen was outstanding.”

India captain MS Dhoni, who said paceman Ishant Sharma “definitely won’t be fit for the next game”, was frustrated by his side losing wickets at key times.

“I don’t think we played good cricket early on,” he said. “There were quite a few soft dismissals, that phase when Jinks [Ajinkya Rahane] got out and a couple of others fell had a big impact.

“I think last night, that last session had a big impact. We lost a few wickets and a few of them were soft dismissals. Without that session we would have been facing a different game.

“We played the fast bowlers well, Moeen bowled well, but we let him bowl well. It’s important to be positive against spinners.”