Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bat's the Way to Do It, Boys!

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bat's the Way to Do It, Boys!

Article excerpt

Stand-in captain Andrew Strauss believes the emergence of England's younger players has been a key factor in their success over Pakistan so far this summer.

England entered the third npower Test knowing victory at Headingley in the next five days would secure an outstanding series triumph with a Test to spare following their emphatic innings-and-120-run win at Old Trafford last week.

Durham's Steve Harmison was rightly voted man of the match in Manchester after an 11-wicket match haul.

However, Strauss believes the performances of young players like Alastair Cook and Ian Bell have been equally instrumental in their success.

He said: "The likes of Cook and Bell coming in and getting hundreds has given our batting a very solid feel and if we can keep doing that as a unit we can keep putting teams under pressure. That is very important."

Essex batsman Cook has been impressive since scoring a century in his debut against India at Nagpur during the winter ( and has now taken his tally to three hundreds in his first seven Tests.

Strauss, who began his England career with a similarly impressive return with five centuries in his first 11 Tests, believes Cook looked every inch a Test player as soon as he made a big impact in India.

He added: "It has not really surprised me. I saw how he played on his debut and I think that said a lot about the guy.

"He likes the big stage, he does not become overawed by the occasion and temperamentally he is very good.

"Although he is a young player he has an old head on those shoulders and has a pretty good technique as well.

"All those combine to make him a very, very good Test match cricketer.

"He is in good form and there is no reason to suspect that will change."

England's major dilemma was whether to keep faith with Sajid Mahmood, who offers greater pace and bounce, or choose Gloucestershire seamer Jon Lewis, whose line and length should prosper at Headingley.

Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who claimed five wickets to help bowl England to victory on Saturday in Manchester, should retain his place despite only one Test wicket falling to an English spinner in the last 10 years at this ground. …

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