| Ravindra Jadeja after his dismissal, in Southampton, on Thursday |
Southampton: Alastair Cook perhaps couldn’t have been more to-the-point and straightforward when after the third Test he said that it has been a better week for him because England have won a game and he himself had scored runs.
England were starved of a Test win for 10 matches and Cook was without a major innings for time immemorial. As the hosts carved out a 266-run victory over India and Cook scored 95 and 70 not out, the England captain’s satisfaction was understandable.
“This summer, we’ve played good cricket for one or two sessions out of three… But here, while bowling, we’ve managed to keep that pressure for the whole session. With the bat we got greedy, that set up the game… We had as good a game as you could have,” Cook said at the post-match media conference.
“I thought we performed really well… The guys who were questioned really delivered. It’s great to see Belly (Ian Bell) score a big hundred… When you set the game up like we did, you get ahead of the game and can dictate it,” he added.
“It’s been a better week — we’ve won a game and I’ve scored runs… The criticism was that we were losing games and I wasn’t scoring runs… So people won’t say that today. The guys who experienced a Test win for the first time… (Gary) Ballance ran to collect a stump… I had forgotten that they did not know what it is like to win a Test match. But the important thing now is we back it up and take it on to Old Trafford (for the fourth Test).”
From Cook’s words, it was clear that the win relieved him of a burden. “The weight has been lifted… As I said earlier, I felt I’d turned the corner at Lord’s… Under pressure, the first innings meant a lot. The whole week has been brilliant.”
“We were relentless in the game, we never let India off the hook, we kept them under pressure and it takes a lot of skill and determination to do that. We did not let up… The challenge is to repeat it at Old Trafford and try and win the series,” Cook said explaining his plans.
Man of the Match James Anderson felt that England have been playing well from Trent Bridge. “It’s not just this game, it’s been there since Trent Bridge. We’ve done brilliantly… The ECB has done a great job of keeping everything separate. So once we got to the ground, it was all about cricket and how we could win the Test match… And that;s exactly what we did this week. Everyone did it brilliantly. Once we got on the field, the only thoughts we had were winning,” Anderson said.
About his own performance, the speedster felt that it was close to his best. “I think this game was somewhere near my best… The ball swung which helps as that is my strength, but at the same time, it swung at Lord’s and we didn’t get it right as a group. But I felt we were absolutely relentless here as a group of four seamers. Everyone bowled brilliantly.”
“(Chris) Woakes is walking out of the Test without a wicket, but he bowled fantastically well. If he bowls like that again, he’ll get wickets.
“That’s our benchmark as a team and an attack… That’s how good we can be. Our job now is maintain that throughout the series,” Anderson added.
Asked about Friday’s ICC hearing of Anderson’s case regarding the spat with Ravindra Jadeja, Cook said: “We are not allowed to comment, but I just hope common sense prevails… Hopefully we’ll see Jimmy in his home Test match.
Anderson, too, played it diplomatically. “I don’t know what’s going to happen… I want to be playing at Old Trafford, my home Test, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens,” he said.