Cook calls for improved start

India England

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Alastair Cook is aware England must make a better fist of their first innings in Mumbai after suffering a nine-wicket opening Test defeat to India.

Captain Cook led the way with a courageous 176 and received excellent support from Matt Prior, who struck 91, as the tourists battled back from conceding a whopping deficit of 330 at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Patel Stadium.

The duo’s admirable efforts gave England hope heading into the final day, which they began leading by 10 with five wickets still in hand.

However, both set batsmen eventually fell to left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and England were dismissed for 406 to leave India with a simple victory target.

Reflecting on his side’s performance, Cook said: “As we showed in our second innings, there were runs to be had out there.

“It was a great fightback to get it to the last day. We were in a very tough situation.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be today, but we fought hard. We can take a lot from the second half of this game, with our batting, and we’ll need to continue working hard so that when we come to Mumbai we can start better.

“Certainly the runs in the first innings (need to be worked on). We know how crucial they are on the sub-continent.”

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook led England's fightback with a stunning 176. "As we showed in our second innings, there were runs to be had," he said

Cook resisted India for more than nine hours second time round and still believed England could pull off an unlikely escape when play resumed this morning.

“There was always a glimmer of hope at five-down, but it had to be something very special,” he added.

“Matty and I knew we would have to do the majority of the work and if we got closer and closer we knew India had done a huge amount of overs in the field. That was the inspiration at the beginning of the day.

“It wasn’t meant to be. We didn’t quite get that partnership going as we got it going last night, but there was a lot of character shown by the lads.

“We fought hard, but in the end we just weren’t good enough in this game.”

Cook was not too hard on himself, or Prior, given the match situation when they joined forces yesterday.

"It wasn't today that cost us; it was that first innings,” he said.

"When you go to bed tonight, and you've scored a big hundred, you do smile and you can be proud.

"But I'd have been even prouder if I'd survived today and dragged a draw out of it.

"To score any hundred for England is very special. To score one in that situation probably made it even more special for me.

"But the result is what really matters ... and we weren't good enough over the five days."

Cook is now targeting strong team totals in both innings during the second Test at Mumbai, beginning on Friday, if indeed England bat twice there.

"I think we were ready for it; we were prepared for it; we just didn't deliver out in the middle," he said of the first Test.

"You can look for reasons. Maybe we didn't trust our method as well as we could have done ... I don't know. You can analyse a lot into batting.

"The reason why we struggled in the game is our batting, especially in the first innings, didn't deliver enough runs.

"It proved in the second innings that we can score runs against this attack.

"We're just going to have to do it in both innings to give ourselves a chance of winning the game."

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