England batting coach Graham Gooch full of praise for protege Alastair Cook

Last Updated: 19/11/12 7:08am

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England batting coach Graham Gooch thinks the first Test against India in Ahmedabad is "still alive" after Alastair Cook's 168 not out on day four.

The tourists, following on after conceding a first-innings deficit of 330, looked doomed after slipping to 199-5 second time around in early afternoon.

But Cook, who batted all day, and Matt Prior (84no) forged an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 141 through to stumps at 340-5, leaving England 10 runs in credit heading into the final day.

"India are still in a good position but the game is alive. From the England camp's point of view it's been a very good day, it has been very satisfying to watch Alastair bat."
Graham Gooch

"There is a lot of fight in this England team and Alastair Cook played a real captain's knock today," Gooch said on Sky Sports News.

"India are still in a good position but the game is alive. From the England camp's point of view it's been a very good day, it has been very satisfying to watch Alastair bat."

Gooch refused to blame the Ahmedabad pitch for England's first-innings effort of 191, which came after they had watched India pile up 521-8 across most of the opening two days.

"I don't think the pitch is a bad pitch at all, it is turning a bit but nothing you don't expect in this part of the world," he said.

"I don't think there are any demons in it and our batsmen today have shown that, they have played with a lot of application and skill."

Disappointed

Cook's success stood in stark contrast to some of his top-order colleagues, including Kevin Pietersen who was bowled by Pragyan Ojha's left-arm spin for the second day in a row.

"I think Kevin will be very disappointed with both innings," Gooch said. "He trains very hard and practises very hard, and has played well in recent times.

"But like other players, he has to trust his ability. There is a certain way of playing over here. You've got to get yourself in and trust your defence - once you've done that you can look at what scoring options you've got.

"Obviously he wouldn't be happy with his return in this match or with the way he played, but he is strong enough and a big enough character to carry on working on his game. I'm sure he'll put it right."

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