Alastair Cook – endurance batsman

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Wouldn't be breaking sweat even if he could

Hello South Africa and welcome to England. This is Alastair Cook. He is fitter than you are. We’re not sure you’re going to get on very well.

Thus far, South Africa have had a fairly typical experience of touring England. It has rained and Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott have batted for bloody ages. The Saffers took an early wicket, but you need at least two against England to really be in business.

If you want to win Tests in England, you’re heavily reliant on your seam bowlers but bowling at Cook and Trott is like attacking an industrial sander with a plank of wood. You jab at it again and again and eventually all you’re left with is a nub. Then Kevin Pietersen walks to the crease and surveys you with disdain. It’s not a complex tactic.

Cook’s extraordinary stamina has one purpose. He has developed it so that he can do what he already does only for slightly longer. That’s it. He doesn’t want to run marathons or anything. He just wants to ensure that his feet move the same at 6pm as they do at midday. It seems to work.

If we have a word of reassurance for South Africa, it’s that England are so heavily reliant on this method that Plan B is a good deal worse. The batting line-up is built on the principle that the top three will grind down the opposition bowlers to some degree. Get through the the top order and you introduce the other batsmen to a terrifying land of pace and movement that they are largely unfamiliar with.

But today? 267-3 isn’t really doing the job. And don’t pin your hopes on weariness from Cook tomorrow either.


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  1. Shouldn’t talks of “reassuring” SA must be reserved till later? Come on KC, the series is one day old. And 267 at 2.96 is hardly the score that wins you the match straight away.


    1. Okay, we’ll reassure them that the series is only one day old. What’s the difference? We’re saying there’s all to play for either way.

    2. I swear I meant to write “Cook is on his way to test match superstar status”. I don’t know what unholy spirit possessed me.

  2. At the end of Day 3 the match is interestingly poised. In days gone by, you’d have assumed that SA would spend a day batting, set 300+ for England, then win by an innings and 195 just after lunch on Day 5.

    But because of that described above, I don’t think we assume that anymore – the draw seems quite likely. England set four sessions to bat to save the match? OK, let’s just let Cook sort that out, then we can move on.

  3. Hello England and welcome South Africa. This is Hashim Amla. He is better than you are. We’re not sure you’re going to get on very well.
    That said, a draw is looking likely, unless they give Steyn the new ball in the second innings. Any chance of a result wicket for the next test?

  4. Cook is my favorite batsman of this generation. Well, i wish i would see some double century from him in this test series against South Africa.

    1. Dunno, still seems about right to us. South Africa got through England’s top three and then it was all plain sailing from there.

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