Ashes still within Eng’s reach: Cook
England captain Alastair Cook insisted his side could yet regain the Ashes despite being held to a 1-1 Test series draw by New Zealand. Australia thrashed England 5-0 on home soil during the last Ashes clash in 2013/14. However, Australia will arrive for a Test series against England starting in Cardiff on July 8 having not won an away Ashes campaign since 2001. England, though, went down to a crushing 199-run defeat by New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley on Tuesday.
But for Cook’s superb 162 and a dashing century by all-rounder Ben Stokes, England might well have also lost the first Test at Lord’s -- a match they won by 124 runs. Asked if he thought England could regain the Ashes, Cook told reporters at Headingley: “Yes I do. In our conditions as well, we’re comfortable in them but we have to make that step forward as a side and we have to do it quickly.”
The second Test saw Cook become England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer and James Anderson the first England bowler to take 400 Test wickets. But, for the second series in a row, following their five-wicket defeat by the West Indies in Barbados last month, England let slip a 1-0 lead to end a Test series level at 1-1.
England started Tuesday’s final day on 44 without loss, chasing what would have been a Test record fourth innings winning total of 455. But they lost five wickets before lunch and were eventually bowled out for 255, with Cook (56) and Jos Buttler (73) providing the only significant resistance.
“To win a Test series or a Test match, you need to win those crucial moments,” said Cook. “We’re just probably lacking a little bit of that. To lose four wickets pretty early on made it fairly clear that we weren’t going to go for it,” said Cook, who reached exactly 9,000 Test runs with his second-innings effort.