Alistair Cook helped silence some of his critics by scoring a careful and gutsy 95 against India on the first day of the Third Test at Hampshire’s Rose Bowl ground. He fell agonisingly 5 runs short of what would have been a first century in 27 innings, but he showed signs of the ability that seemed to have deserted him this year.

Prior to this match, he had scored only 129 runs in 2014 at an average of 14.33 during a winless run in which England have lost seven and drawn two matches.


For many, the batting collapse on the final day of the Lords Test match was a step too far, handing India a 1-0 series lead.

After the match, there were calls from many quarters, including former captains Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen, for Cook to stand down as England captain. The way in which he went about scoring runs on Sunday show signs that a recovery may not be too far away.

At the press conference following defeat in the last Test, Cook was unable to explain why the team had gone from Ashes conquering heroes in 2013 to an Ashes whitewash in Australia, followed by a home series defeat to Sri Lanka and now being behind in the current India series, he said, “If we get 11 people playing to their potential and we win a game of cricket, that moment of going through tough times will make it feel a lot better… I want to carry on.


I want to be sitting there with some runs and a win.”

Perhaps this match could be the turning point for Cook as a captain and as a player. Whilst he described himself as “frustrated” for not passing 100, he achieved his first target in that he has started making runs again.

By scoring his 95, he also became the third highest Test run scorer in English history, passing David Gower’s 8,231 from 117 Tests.

Perhaps we are seeing the green shoots of his form recovering? His next priority therefore is to secure a win.

This time, his team has responded to his call to action. The Rose Bowl witnessed another century by Gary Balance, his third in only his sixth Test and a first century in 19 tests for Ian Bell – another who has been experiencing a temporary run drought.

Bell’s innings also saw him surpass 7,000 career runs.

Before today, Bell had averaged only 21.89 this calendar year. After significant withdrawals from the England squad this year with the departures of Kevin Pietersen, Graham Swann and Johnathan Trott as well as Matt Prior’s decision to undergo surgery following the Lord’s defeat, places have been made available for young players to make their mark.

There have been impressive performances by Ballance, Joe Root and Moeen Ali, and Josh Buttler announced himself today on to the Test arena with a blistering 85.


It is the senior players who have yet to impose themselves, leaving very few natural successors to Cook at this stage. Hopefully, his resurgence of form in this Test will continue and he can prove his doubters wrong.

Cook currently sits on 8,257 and his career average is an impressive 45.71 from 109 matches. At the age of only 29, you feel that there is still a lot more to come from him. The reception that he got during this match as he left the field makes you feel that the public would love him to turn it around.


Hopefully England can still make it a winning summer of cricket.

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