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Cook out to make more Gabba history

Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke preview the Ashes opener

Alastair Cook rewrote individual Test history at Brisbane three years ago and is determined to update the team record books this time.

Cook’s rearguard 235 not out in November 2010 was the highest Test score at the Gabba, a mark Australia captain Michael Clarke improved on by 24 last year versus South Africa.

England, led now by Cook, last tasted Test victory at Brisbane in 1986, since when they have lost four times and drawn two twice at a ground nicknamed the ‘Gabbatoir’.

However, Cook is encouraged by England breaking previous Ashes hoodoos - like at Lord’s in 2009 - ahead of the opening game of five.

"Australia have a very good record in Brisbane, and it's our job to try to change that," Cook said. "We've spoken about their record here - not losing for 25 years is a good achievement.”

"We spoke about something like this at Lord's in 2009, when we played them (and won). We hadn't beaten them for 70-odd years at Lord's, and we made a real conscious effort to try to change that.

"This side has done that a number of times - when there have been specific challenges ahead of us, we've delivered."

Cook is taking confidence from the majority of England’s expected line-up being the same as the 2010 Brisbane side.

"There's no reason to feel intimidated," Cook added. "A lot of players in this squad were here in 2010-11 - we've all got experience of winning in Australia.

"We're trying to use that to the best of our ability, and we know how important this game was last time for setting up the series.

"We certainly don't fear anyone. That's quite clear to see, the way we go about our business. We're a very competitive side, and there's no reason to fear any side out there."

England made just 260 batting first at the Gabba three years ago but, facing a deficit of 221, responded emphatically with 517 for one declared as, besides Cook, Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott hit hundreds.

"We know how important first-innings runs are in Australia," Cook said. "To set the game up, you have to score big."

Of England’s bowlers, Stuart Broad is excepted to take flack from the home crowd after Australia coach Darren Lehmann in August encouraged spectators to single him out.

But Cook is unconcerned about the temperament of the three-time Ashes winner under such scrutiny.

"He's a very combative character," Cook observed. "He's an in-yer-face kind of cricketer, and I like that about him.

"Any time you set him a challenge - you saw (in the Ashes-clinching victory in August) at Durham when we hadn't bowled very well, the challenge was set in the dressing room at tea.

"We said 'we need to take this game by the scruff of the neck if we want to win it' - and he stood up and delivered.

"He's done that a number of times for England, magic spells of bowling. He has the ability to change games very quickly ... and he is raring to go."

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