• India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad

Gooch: Cook thriving as captain

ESPN staff
November 18, 2012
File photo: Alastair Cook scored his third ton in this third Test as captain (ESPN is not carrying live pictures due to curbs on media) © Getty Images

England batting coach Graham Gooch believes Alastair Cook is blossoming under the responsibility of captaincy as the skipper kept England's hopes salvaging something from the first Test against India alive.

Cook's unbeaten 168 on day four revived England after they conceded a first-innings deficit of 330, producing an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 141 with Matt Prior to leave England 10 runs ahead on 340 for 5 at stumps.

In his first official Test as captain, Cook struck his 21st Test ton - adding to the two centuries he produced as stand-in skipper for Andrew Strauss on England's tour of Bangladesh in March 2010.

Former England captain Gooch, who has overseen Cook's progress as part of both the England and Essex coaching setups, was quick to lavish praise on his protege, who he believed showed his world-class status against India on his debut back in 2006.

"Some players blossom under the captaincy as a performer, and he has certainly blossomed under that responsibility here," said Gooch. "It was great commitment from our guys and great fighting spirit. There was belief in their own ability, and Alastair led from the front as captain.

"That will do him the world of good to put that score on the board, showing what he is capable of and what this team is capable of. I think that was as good an innings as I've seen him play, because he was under great pressure after a poor first-innings performance from the team.

"He can do it because he is one of the best players in the world. It is not just physical skill I'm talking about - you need skill between the ears. This lad has had a great temperament from when he first started and came here [to India] to make his debut.

"He proved even then the priceless skill of knowing how to play. From the outset, he knew what he could do and what he couldn't do - and he still has that skill today. He crafted a century today. It wasn't a flamboyant innings - he did the job that was necessary."

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