Alastair Cook can give England the foundation to save Test, says Moeen Ali | Sport


Moeen Ali on Sunday night optimistically talked up England’s chances of batting six sessions and escaping from Trent Bridge with at least a draw, provided Alastair Cook can survive the new ball and produce an epic innings that lays the platform for the remainder of the batting order.

With the weather in Nottingham set fair for the last two days, a more realistic target for Joe Root’s side, who resume on one run for no loss from four overs, would simply be to show they have learned from their 205 all out in the first innings before they can even begin to contemplate the fanciful notion of either saving the second Test or chasing a world-record 474.

Moeen, who earlier picked up four for 78 with the ball, said: “We have got some very good batters who are capable of doing it. Cookie, when he gets in, is hard to get out and hopefully we will see that. We need a good foundation to bat six sessions. The top three can be very solid and bat time, then we have [Root] in good form. But we will have a chat before play.”

On England’s prospects of escaping without defeat, the South Africa opener Dean Elgar countered: “According to the to stats, it shouldn’t happen. The wicket is getting better but the odd ball is squatting a bit. It will be hard work for us to get 10 wickets but our bowlers are looking forward to it. We don’t want an easy Test victory – it has to be hard work to win a Test.

“We have opened up a few cracks in their side and will be brilliant for us in the future in this series. I’m not surprised by the swing since the Lord’s Test, we’ve been playing brilliant cricket for two or three years as one of the best teams in the world.”

Though England are talking a good game, simple damage limitation would be handy before next week’s third Test at The Oval – as well as runs from a top three that remains an ongoing source of concern. Mark Ramprakash, the batting coach, believes the aggressive mindset of the modern player is making the step up to Test cricket hard, especially in those positions.

Ramprakash said: “With Twenty20 being prevalent, a higher percentage of the batters we are seeing come through [in domestic cricket] are gravitating to the white-ball game. There are not as many of your tried-and-tested county openers.

“When the ball does a little bit, you have to show due care and attention. But perhaps because there’s a mix of one-day cricket and four-day cricket, the players want to be a bit more proactive. It is not easy to bed in players at this level when the ball nips around with overcast skies. It is not easy to get them settled and confident.”

England, meanwhile, will monitor the fitness of Mark Wood, who reported bruising on his left heel after a tough third day in which the seamer went wicketless for the third time in four innings this series. The issue is understood to not be related to past ankle problems, however.

Click to view the original article on The Guardian.


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