Moores never doubted Cook

Alastair Cook has recovered from a miserable first half of the summer

Alastair Cook has recovered from a miserable first half of the summer

First published in National Sport © by

England coach Peter Moores never doubted the ability of captain Alastair Cook to turn around his and the team's fortunes.

Three weeks ago both Cook and England were at a low ebb as they slumped to defeat at Lord's in the second Investec Test against India - a seventh loss in a run of 10 matches without a win.

Cook's position as skipper was under heavy scrutiny and the pressure was being magnified by his own poor form with the bat.

The situation has now turned around remarkably after back-to-back victories at the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford, with Cook scoring two good half-centuries in Southampton.

Moores had been keen to work with Cook when he took charge at the start of the summer and backed the 29-year-old to defy his critics.

Moores said: "I think the significant point was when he came out and said he was in it for the long haul. If people didn't want him, that was fine, he would move on - but he made pretty public his desire to captain England.

"He is very determined. The more people have had a go at him, the more he has said he is totally in for it.

"He is developing quickly as a captain tactically and has great values to lead with from example.

"He would openly admit that at times he has had a really tough ride but often that can forge somebody into something special. Hopefully for Alastair that is starting to come out a bit."

After a dismal past year, England are now heading to the Kia Oval for next week's final Test with an unassailable 2-1 lead and with spirits soaring after a dramatic win inside three days in Manchester.

India lost nine wickets after tea on Saturday to crash to defeat by an innings and 54 runs. It wrapped up a sorry match for the tourists, who had slumped to eight for four after winning the toss and then been shot out for 152 on the first day.

Even with half a day lost to rain and a sodden outfield, and a poor forecast for the final two days of the match to aid their cause, India were unable to spirit much resistance.

Stuart Broad, who ended with a broken nose, took the man-of-the-match award for his first-innings six for 25 while Moeen Ali, with his rapidly improving off-spin, claimed four wickets in the dramatic last session.

Other plaudits went to Joe Root and Jos Buttler, whose seventh-wicket stand of 134 helped England to a significant first-innings lead after India's seamers had threatened to bring the match back into the balance.

Describing the turnaround of the last two matches, Moores said: "We played some good cricket at times but didn't put it together for any length of time.

"We have now played pretty consistently all the way through the last Test and pretty much all the way through this one. That has resulted in two wins and we have had two or three exceptional performances within that.

"Certain things have fallen into place. We had seen a lot of the younger players do well and the senior players hadn't really fired, but the fact that the senior players have really performed well over the last couple of games has really added something to us.

"At the end of the Lord's game, that was a real low point. We were all very disappointed - b ut that allows you to regroup.

"We have won two Tests but we have got to be pretty careful we don't get carried away.

"We have got a huge game coming up at The Oval. It is nice to see something coming into place for a team that is going to build for the future."

England have named an unchanged squad for the fifth Test with the only major issue being the fitness of Broad.

Broad fractured his nose after being hit by an 88mph bouncer from India's Varun Aaron and went to hospital during the second innings.

The 28-year-old, who is to undergo knee surgery at the end of the series, is confident of returning to action but revealed via Twitter on Sunday he may need to wear a mask.

Broad, who attached a picture showing his bloodied and stitched nose, wrote: "Little bit sore this morning but not too bad! Doc did a great job with the stitches. On to The Oval! (With a mask)."

Steven Finn and Ben Stokes are the potential replacements in the squad should Broad not be risked.

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