Alastair Cook remains unbeaten on 244    Getty Images
Alastair Cook remains unbeaten on 244 Getty Images

Several questions were raised on Alastair Cook following England‘s defeat against Australia at Perth. Heading to the Boxing Day Test (December 26), England had already conceded the urn in the ongoing Ashes 2017-18 edition. Joe Root-led England had to come all guns blazing in order to avoid further humiliation. Cook, the former England skipper, was expected to be dropped after a poor run of form. He, however, was given another nod and responded by batting for more than four hours, and remains unbeaten on Day Three of the fourth Test. In process, Cook (244 not out) has surmounted the highest score by an overseas batsman in MCG.

England have taken a 164-run lead courtesy a 100-run stand between Cook and Stuart Broad and Australia coach, Darren Lehmann believes his side have a lot of catching to do if they want to ensure a whitewash in the series. In addition, Lehmann was quick to admit that Cook responded beautifully to silence his critics. He expects similar application from his lads in the penultimate day of the Test (Saturday).

“It’s a fantastic achievement. He played bloody well the whole day, didn’t he? We had a couple of opportunities [Smith dropped Cook on 66 and 153], but outside of that it was just very good Test match batting. He’s been under some pressure in the first three Test matches, but he’s certainly responded really well today and yesterday. We were probably 100-150 runs short in the first innings and they [England] certainly showed the application required to bat long periods of time on this wicket.” told Lehmann.

‘He has been a magnificent player for England’

“The way he [Cook] played – and the concentration – is why he’s got almost 12,000 Test runs. He’s been a magnificent player for England. We’d have to bowl them out quite cheaply, wouldn’t we? It’s going to take us a long time to get past them, to be perfectly honest,” added Lehmann.

It’s tough to see any other scenarios going on other than draw or an England win’

“Really, our job is to bat a lot of overs and do exactly what they’ve just done to us. The batters have got to stand up and it’s a great challenge for the batting group to do that again. You never say never, do you? But we’re a long way behind the game so it’s about batting for as long as we possibly can and see where the game heads from there.

It’s tough to see any other scenarios going on other than a draw or an England win, so we have to make sure we’re up and ready to go and play exactly like Cook did,” concluded Lehmann.

Australia folded for 327, and England will resume at 491 for 9 on Saturday.