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Cook - Good day for England

Opener remains upbeat despite late wickets

Alastair Cook: England opener was one of four wickets to go down after tea

Alastair Cook: England opener was one of four wickets to go down after tea

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Alastair Cook believes England still enjoyed a good second day against Pakistan despite losing four wickets in the final session.

England polished off the Pakistan innings in quick time, with three wickets taken for the addition of just one run before Cook and Jonathan Trott put together a vigilant stand that took their total to 166-1.

At that stage England looked set for a big lead but Saeed Ajmal removed Cook (94), Kevin Pietersen (14) and Eoin Morgan (3), while Abdur Rehman dismissed Trott (74).

That left the total at 207-5, a deficit of 50, but Cook remained upbeat.

"I think we've had a good day," he told Sky Sports.

"To wrap up their innings (was good). The last half-hour has shifted it back maybe to evens but we're one partnership away from that 50 deficit being a 50 lead at lunch.

"It was nice to get off to a good start, so it was a shame to lose those wickets; it turned a really good day into just a good day I suppose."

Tricky

Cook and Trott excelled with powers of concentration, but even they never looked entirely in control.

"In subcontinent conditions, you never get to 20 very easily," added Cook.

"Sometimes in English conditions, you can get to 20 quickly. But here it's always hard work for the new guy coming in.

"When the partnership gets going, it's hard to break it. Not that much happens, and you get used to the conditions as a batter.

"You can get into a groove."

Ajmal and his two fellow spinners, Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez, regularly beat the bat even when wickets were not falling.

But Cook said: "I do think I can pick him the majority of the time - 80 per cent. But like any batter, you make mistakes.

"We probably played [him] better today than we did in Dubai."

"It was nice to get off to a good start, so it was a shame to lose those wickets; it turned a really good day into just a good day I suppose."

Alastair Cook

Quotes of the week

Six more runs would have brought the 27-year-old his 20th century, and put him level on England's all-time list with his mentor and England batting coach Graham Gooch.

"It's always frustrating when you've worked so hard for a milestone, to fall just short of it," he said.

"It's disappointing when you don't get it, because you know it took five hours to get there.

"But it beats last week, when I got three and five."

Turn

Umar Gul, who bowled only 10 overs to Ajmal's 29.5 as the seamers played a holding role, was full of praise for a spin attack responsible for all five wickets between them.

"It was very good for batting in the first two sessions," said Gul. "But after tea, our world-class spinners got the ball to turn.

"We're hoping the wicket plays the same in the morning."

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