England have taken big strides: Cook
Durban, South Africa: England captain Alastair Cook hailed the performance and potential of his team after they completed a crushing 241-run win over South Africa on the fifth day of the first Test at Kingsmead on Wednesday.
Cook said a key factor had been batting solidly in bowler-friendly overhead conditions on the first day after being sent in.
“It was an interesting toss, the overheads were suggesting you want to bowl first but the pitch was quite dry,” said Cook.
“We would also have bowled first. It was a matter of getting through that first day. The way Nick (Compton) played really set up the first innings. From that moment on, the guys bowled particularly well to take 20 wickets and we scored enough runs in the second innings.”
Cook said a convincing win against a strong South Africa A team in the build-up to the Test had given the players a lot of confidence.”It was particularly pleasing to back up our form under pressure in a Boxing Day Test match.”
With only a two-day turnaround before the second Test starts in Cape Town on Saturday, Cook said it was important to recover well and to avoid complacency. “It can turn very quickly. They have world-class players so we can’t get too carried away. But it would be nice to get our noses ahead again and to continue to put pressure on South Africa.”
South African captain Hashim Amla, meanwhile, admitted that his team’s batting had been “most disappointing”. Amla said his team’s lack of batting form was “a confidence thing” and acknowledged that his own lack of runs was a concern.
Amla said he still enjoyed being captain but ducked questions about possible changes in the team.
He hinted, however, that Quinton de Kock, who has been added to the squad, could come into the side for the second Test as a wicketkeeper-batsman, enabling AB de Villiers to play as a batsman only.”
AB’s workload has been great than we expected,” he said. South African coach Russell Domingo admitted: “We didn’t play half as well as we can.”