VISAKHAPATNAM: Skipper Alastair Cook has expressed confidence that England can bounce back in the series against India despite the crushing loss in the second Test but said winning the toss would be key.
The English batting crumbled under pressure and were bowled out for 158 on the fifth day of the second Test in Visakhapatnam Monday while chasing an unlikely target of 405.
Cook led from the front with his gritty 54 to put on a 75-run opening stand with young Haseeb Hameed (25) to raise England’s hopes of drawing the Test before the Indian spinners struck.
Cook believes the visitors can still draw positives from their 246-run loss, which leaves the tourists 1-0 down in the five-match series.
“Yes we have lost by a big margin. But the margin of runs is different. We could have played more aggressively and lost by 150 runs or so,” said Cook.
“But we went that way. It was a massive toss to lose but in certain periods of game we played some good cricket.”
England posted a mammoth 537 in the first Test after electing to bat first in Rajkot while India amassed 455 after the coin turned in skipper Virat Kohli’s favour in the second game.
“We are still very much in the series. A couple of good tosses will help that, there’s no doubt about that,” Cook said, emphasising the importance of winning tosses on these wickets.
“We have got to put the whole game together to beat India. If we can get ahead of them in Mohali, then we can put pressure on them,” he added.
Ben Duckett’s failure with the bat is sure to be a cause of concern for the team management and Cook is ready to take some bold selection decisions come the third Test starting Saturday.
The Northamptonshire batsman managed just 18 runs from his three innings so far, which has prompted Cook to have Jos Buttler in mind for the Mohali game.
“Certainly something that the selectors will have a look at,” Cook said about the possibility of Buttler being considered for the next Test.
After being picked by Ravichandran Ashwin on all occasions, Duckett’s inability to handle spin on Indian pitches has been severely exposed.
“It’s hard cricket in your first few games. The difference, I think, is probably quite stark, I think from playing in Northampton to playing here,” said Cook.
“Ben is a really talented cricketer and I think we’ll see a lot more of him in an England shirt. Whether he plays in Mohali or not, the selectors will have to take a call on that.”