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Cook eyes desert run feast

England opener expects response from top order in Abu Dhabi

Alastair Cook: England opener confident of improved display in Abu Dhabi

Alastair Cook: England opener confident of improved display in Abu Dhabi

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Alastair Cook knows England have the ability to take advantage of a batting haven at the Sheikh Zyed Cricket Stadium - but they will take nothing for granted after their blip in Dubai.

Cook was a founder member of a top six who fluffed their lines so badly, principally against Saeed Ajmal, as England were bowled out for under 200 twice to lose the first Test against Pakistan by 10 wickets inside three days.

Andrew Strauss' tourists must therefore win in Abu Dhabi, where the middle match of three starts on Wednesday, or accept they will not begin their reign as world Test number ones with a victorious series.

Reassurance comes in statistical form, a welter of runs in three Tests so far at this venue indicating that batsmen are highly likely to have conditions very much in their favour.

Performance

"It's always nice when you turn up to a ground where history suggest you can score runs," said Cook, after practice at the ground this morning.

"But that doesn't really count for anything.

"We've got to go out and put our poor performance behind us."

Cook echoed the thoughts of a succession of players and coaching staff since the hammering in Dubai - that England were way below their normal standards there, but can and will improve as they must.

"We held our hands up as a batting unit, that the reason we didn't get close in that last match was the top six," he added.

"The beauty about another game coming so quickly is we can put that right, and I know we've got the characters and the record to do that."

Century

Cook will walk out to open a Test innings alongside Strauss for the 100th time during the match, becoming the first opening pair to achieve the feat for England - and just the fourth worldwide.

The two left-handers first combined at the top of the order on Cook's Test debut in Nagpur six years ago and have since forged a successful alliance.

"We're very similar in character and we do enjoy batting together," Cook said. "We hope, for the 100th time, we can do something special."

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