Cook keen to continue golden run
Alastair Cook aims to keep making the most of his outstanding form after helping England into a position of dominance on day two of the second Ashes Test.
Cook, who scored a career-best 235 not out in last week’s drawn series opener at the Gabba, finished unbeaten on 136 as the tourists progressed to 317 for two in Adelaide - a lead of 72.
The left-handed opener added 173 with Jonathan Trott - with whom he put on a record 329 in Brisbane - before combining with Kevin Pietersen in another century partnership for the third wicket.
Their unbroken alliance was worth 141 when stumps were drawn, with Pietersen 15 short of his own hundred.
Cook has now spent almost 17 hours at the crease and scored a record 371 unbeaten runs since he took guard in the second innings of the first Test.
At the close of play, he said: “It’s been another very special day and it’s important you cash in when things are going your way.
“They bowled really well up front, so to stick in through that and go on and bat all day was very rewarding.
“One of the challenges I had this week was trying to back up what I did last week.
“On Wednesday and Thursday I was just trying to get the processes back to what I was doing and not get complacent.
“I think that’s the biggest thing, being really greedy to cash in, and it is just a mental switch that you have to start on nought again.”
Cook’s sensational run of scores provide a sharp contrast to his miserable form last summer, when he could barely buy a run against Pakistan’s seamers under incessant cloud cover at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.
He responded then, though, with a much-needed hundred at the Brit Insurance Oval - an innings which instilled in him a confidence he can make runs when it matters most.
“I don’t think I’m doing anything differently,” he said. “You put in all the hard yards, and then you get little rewards - like I’ve had this week.
“It’s important to enjoy them when you get them, but remember there is a lot of hard work to come.
“If you ever need a reminder of how quickly cricket changes, you only have to look at me last summer.”
He does not quibble even now with those who questioned his credentials as a Test opener.
“I deserved it. I think I scored a hundred runs in seven knocks. You guys wouldn’t have been doing your job if you hadn’t criticised me.
“How I dealt with it - by responding at the Oval - has given me a lot of confidence that when I really needed it most I could deliver.
“Here, where the side need it most, I’ve managed to deliver so far.”
After Trott had lent the chanceless Cook another significant hand - albeit with some luck along the way - Pietersen, with a point to prove after waiting an eternity to bat here and at the Gabba, was the ideal new partner to put the boot into Australia.
“He said he’d had his pads on for about 11 hours, before he finally got a bat,” said Cook. “The way he batted there looked like he really wants to make the most of it.”
Cook was also quick to pay tribute to England’s bowlers, who restricted Australia to a modest 245 yesterday.
“It was almost ideal batting conditions,” he added. “It was very hot out there and the wicket was very good, so a lot of credit must go to the way our guys bowled yesterday to get us in this position.
“Now we’ve got a lot of hard work to do tomorrow to really build on it.”
It fell to Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to try to look on the bright side for the hosts.
“Obviously it’s been a tough day, but we’ve got to make sure we fight,” he said.
“Test cricket’s not meant to be easy. But if we keep presenting ourselves, and show we’re hungry and really want to be in this contest, this game can turn.”