England team behind Cook - Farbrace

Paul Farbrace, left, insists Alastair Cook is the right man to lead England

Paul Farbrace, left, insists Alastair Cook is the right man to lead England

First published in National Sport © by

England are clinging to the belief they can defy the odds for victory against India at Lord's, and that Alastair Cook remains the best man to lead them in the rest of the Investec series.

All the indications and vibes from England management are that there is still no appetite - whatever the outcome on the final day against India at Lord's - to dispense with the captain of their 'new era'.

Assistant coach Paul Farbrace was nothing if not on message with that united front as he backed Cook unequivocally, and voiced optimisim too that England can yet pull off their highest run chase on this ground for a first victory in 10 Tests - despite faltering to 105 for four in pursuit of 319.

Cook is among those already out of the equation to make any more of the runs required, having battled hard but managed only 22 to extend his sequence without a Test hundred to 27 innings.

Asked about Cook's paltry form and, some believe, tenuous future as captain, Farbrace said: "Nothing has changed whatsoever. Absolutely nothing has changed.

"We all want him to score runs, and I think you saw today that everybody in the ground wanted him to score runs.

"We're all very much behind him - everyone in the team is."

Cook himself crucially, according to Farbrace, is also far from losing faith.

"He's feeling that a score is close, and you saw today that he fought and scrapped and worked as hard as he possibly could.

"There is absolutely no question that he is our leader."

England arrived on day four of this second Investec Test arguably as marginal favourites, but ended it with much more to prove after Ravindra Jadeja's counter-attacking career-best 68 and a half-century from Bhuvneshwar Kumar helped India to 342 all out on the back of an eighth-wicket stand of 99.

Farbrace, however, is still hopeful - pointing to the presence of Moeen Ali, England's hero with an unbeaten century albeit in ultimate defeat against Sri Lanka at Headingley last month, as good reason.

"You've got to turn up expecting your batsmen to get through and score the runs," he said.

"We've got somebody at the crease who batted all day at Headingley two Test matches ago, and got a hundred, against all the odds.

"There were a lot of people that day not expecting us to still be at the crease at seven o'clock, and fighting for our lives.

"Unfortunately, the penultimate ball finished the game.

"But it was a magnificent fight."

Joe Root too, who made an unbeaten double-century in his last Test here and an 154 not out against India at Trent Bridge last week, is still standing.

"There is no question today, Jadeja's innings has given them a big advantage," added Farbrace.

"But it's up to us to show the fight tomorrow that we showed at Headingley.

"We've got two people at the crease who enjoy a scrap.

"You've got to expect to win a game - that's the key.

"We're desperate to win this Test match, and we do have an opportunity tomorrow.

"It is definitely going to be tough ... perhaps we are slightly up against it.

"(But) until we lose all the wickets, the game's over, you've got to believe you have a chance of winning.

"That has to be the way you think. Otherwise, there's no point turning up tomorrow morning."

Murali Vijay, who fell five runs short of a Lord's century for India, provided another moment of clarity from the opposition perspective.

"It is doing a lot for the spinner because of the footmarks," he said.

"They have (lots of) left-handers, so it is going to be tough for them."

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