Home > Features >

Alastair Cook returns with a vengeance against Sri Lanka

Alastair Cook paced his innings beautifully © Getty Images
Alastair Cook paced his innings beautifully © Getty Images

Since the Ashes whitewash there have been questions regarding Alastair Cook’s leadership. There have been voices that have wanted him out of the ODI side as well. Abhishek Mukherjee wonders whether the Chelmsford blitz would mark his return to pomp.

 

Things have not looked good for Alastair Cook. England’s blue-eyed boy — the man who had beaten India in India and had retained the Ashes in the summer of 2013 and the one who has been marked out as the “chosen one” to go past Sachin Tendulkar’s Test numbers — had suddenly found both his role as the Test captain and a slot in the ODI side in jeopardy.

He may not have been the most confident person when he walked out to bat with Essex captain Mark Pettini against the touring Sri Lankans at Chelmsford. The Lankans struck early too, removing Pettini, Greg Smith, and Ravi Bopara with 21 runs on the board. The match was reduced to a 21-over bout, and the Sri Lankans had won World Twenty20 recently; the conditions were gloomy; the Lankans were moving the ball menacingly; Essex ambled to a measly 46 for three after ten overs.

Then Ben Foakes launched the assault, taking Chaturanga de Silva for consecutive sixes; all eyes, however, was on Cook: could he find his way back? He was happy to let Foakes do the scoring, taking a backseat, reaching 25 from 25 balls. He had played and missed early in his innings; one could feel that the knives were being sharpened in the press-box.

Then came the onslaught: first came the occasional four; then came the booming drives. Cook suddenly raced through the thirties and forties, and brought up his fifty with a six off Perera. The next three balls went for ten, and before being caught by Suranga Lakmal off Prasad the next over, he managed to clear the ropes yet again.

He fell for 71 from 49, which meant that the last 24 balls had accounted for 46. Most importantly, only 28 of these had come in boundaries, which meant that he had scored 43 off 43 (42, if one discounts the ball that had dismissed him) only in singles. It was a perfectly planned innings — starting off with singles, handing the strike over to the dangerous partner, and exploding just when it was needed. It was a shaky start that had culminated into a brilliant finish.

The last 11 Essex overs had gone for 115; thanks to Messrs Duckworth and Lewis, the tourists were set to chase 169 from 21 overs; they never got going, and finished on 146 for nine.

It may be too early to judge the Sri Lankans by a single performance in a rain-washed match, but things are finally looking good for Cook: it may be the gush of air needed before the long summer ahead of him.

He has been missed.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 3: HS Sharath last man dismissed as South Zone wind up for 379

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi Day 2

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Australia’s foremost cricketing fan misses out on tour to UAE

Arjun Tendulkar to tour South Africa

South Zone bowled out for 379 against Central Zone in Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final

Ottis Gibson appointed England bowling coach

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 Final: KL Rahul dismissed for a brilliant 185

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

Is Shah Rukh Khan giving Aamir Khan sleepless nights?

Kaka to play for Orlando City in friendly match against Flamengo

Rihanna donates USD 135,000 to charity

Diet Tip #38: Choose whole wheat flour over white flour

How to sterilise your baby’s feeding bottle in 5 easy steps

Apple replaces user’s iPad for free after NASA rocket mishap

Android creator Andy Rubin is leaving Google to start a hardware startup incubator

Jennifer Lopez: “I’ve felt abused in one way or another”

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here