Cook still wary despite latest ODI hundred
Jun 20 2012 - 10:17:25
England one-day captain Alastair Cook refused to get carried away after his latest limited overs hundred sealed a series win over the West Indies.
Cook made 112 as England, set 239, won by eight wickets at The Oval here on Tuesday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in a three-match series.
It was left-handed opener Cook's fifth hundred in 47 one-day internationals (ODIS) and third in just his last six matches at this level.
Yet there was a time when the 27-year-old Essex batsman , a mainstay of the Test side, was considered too slow a scorer for the 50-over format.
His appointment to the one-day captaincy last year, after Test skipper Andrew Strauss quit limited overs internationals, prompted former England captain Michael Atherton, himself an opening batsman, to describe Cook as "plodder" with the bat and a "donkey" in the field.
As Cook faced just 120 balls with a six and 13 fours during his innings on Tuesday, having previously run out West Indies opener Lendl Simmons with a direct hit, he could have been forgiven for thinking 'some plodder, some donkey', especially as Atherton managed just two hundreds in his 54 ODIs.
However, Cook insisted concerns about his form were a constant companion.
"I don't think you ever firmly put them to bed, as I always say," he said after his man-of-the-match performance.
"You are only ever a few low scores away but what was pleasing today, I haven't really hit the ball quite as nice over the last month as I'd like to have done.
"I've ground out a few scores in the Test matches but it was nice to go on today and contribute a match-winning innings.
"Any hundred for England is very pleasing," he added.
The West Indies came into this series with high hopes, firmly believing one-day cricket was more to their liking than the Test game where they suffered a 2-0 defeat by England in a three-match series earlier in the tour.
But Tuesday's defeat came after an equally comprehensive 114-run loss in the first ODI at Southampton on Saturday.
"We didn't score enough runs," said West Indies captain Darren Sammy, who saw his side collapse after opener Chris Gayle made a typically rapid fifty upon his return to the international stage following a 15 month-long dispute with Caribbean cricket chiefs.
"At the end of the day you need runs on the board to defend," all-rounder Sammy added. "We wanted 280, we know the Oval wicket is a good one.
"We know cricket isn't played on paper, it's played in the middle. You have to go out and perform and we haven't done that."
England announced later Tuesday they would be resting frontline bowlers Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann from Friday's series finale at Headingley, with their places in the squad taken by the newly called-up trio of Stuart Meaker, Chris Woakes and James Tredwell.