Zee Media Bureau/Rajdeep Saha
New Delhi: England skipper Alastair Cook will hope to get his hands on a Test trophy, a first, in the year 2014. They lead India 2-1, in the ongoing five-match Test series and Cook will look to continue with the dominating spirit in handing counterpart MS Dhoni another overseas series loss.
After the 5-0 Ashes debacle down-under, followed by a 1-0 rare loss against Sri Lanka at home, Cook has found his side gaining an upward form trajectory and it`s a sight he will look to continue with. After being bogged down with the bat and failing to register a Test match win in nine matches before the back-to-back wins over India, Cook has finally got a chance to win a Test series.
Cook was at the centre of criticism from all corners prior to this series. Against India too it started on a wrong note after England lost the second Test match at Lord`s by 95 runs. Several former English captains and cricket pundits all around the globe had asked for Cook`s resignation and a sabbatical, but the flamboyant southpaw decided to stick on. His stubbornness paid off as the hosts won the next two Test matches at Southampton and Manchester in convincing fashions and gained a 2-1 lead.
Not only has England taken the lead, Cook too is back in form after striking two back-to-back half centuries in the Southampton Test. Scores of 95 and 70 n.o. did Cook lots of wonders, as he will look to lead his side by contributing with the bat once again. Also the batting of Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and Joe Root has given Cook a breathing space. The lethal duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad ripped apart India and it`s a bowling pair any captain will want to have at his disposal. Also the star of the series so far has been the spinner in Moeen Ali who with his regular off-spin has choked the Indian batting.
These players have contributed in a large way and have given Cook a serious advantage. England go into Saturday`s Test match as favourites and the skipper knows the value of momentum he has with him to strike gold at The Oval.
After a change in the England set-up, absence of key stars and internal team issues, Cook witnessed it all and for him this has been an another new beginning. It`s a beginning Cook will want to keep with him as he would look to create more space for victories with his young team.