• England v India, 3rd Test

Cook hails Moeen's rise to match-winner

ESPNcricinfo staff
July 31, 2014
Moeen Ali recorded a first Test five-for - then made it six wickets © Getty Images

Alastair Cook paid tribute to the work rate of Moeen Ali after his six second-innings wickets handed England a thumping win in the third Test.

Moeen was labelled a part-time spinner when handed a Test debut at the start of the summer but showed ability far beyond that tag with 6 for 67 to bowl England to victory. Cook praised the effort Moeen has put in to develop his promising offspin, which includes a fledgling doosra.

"His bowling has come on leaps and bounds since the start of the summer," Cook said after England closed out a 266-run win. "Credit to Mo he's worked really hard, it's difficult being a bit part-time, bowling behind Saeed Ajmal at Worcester, but he's fronted up to the responsibility."

Moeen's bowling proved a useful option in the first two Test of the series; he arrived at the Ageas Bowl with seven wickets but finished the match as the joint-second highest wicket-taker in the series with 15 scalps, one behind James Anderson.

Cook identified Moeen's adaptability as the key to his return in the third Test. "The guys in the nets have been telling him the lines are slightly different bowling in international cricket when you've got to hold an end and he's responded really well. Then on a spinning wicket to get six wickets and win the game, you can't ask for any more."

Moeen is one of several young players that have performed well since coming in as part of England's "new era" at the start of the summer. Gary Ballance made his third century in six Tests at the Ageas Bowl and is now the leading run-scorer in the series.

"It was a scramble for the stumps for their first win," Cook said of his new crop tasting victory for the first time. "People will remember that for a long time. We've worked incredibly hard and had some tough moments. We said we want to see the senior guys stand up as well as the youngsters, and one to 11 we've been fantastic."

Victory was England's first in 11 Tests, a run stretching back to August 2013. "I don't think I'm relieved, happy is probably a better word," Cook said. "It's a great performance from day one really, I don't think we lost a session and that's credit to the guys. Every one of the 11 has contributed."

That included Cook himself who snapped a barren run of form with his first half-century since December last year with a first-innings 95 that featured more positive play on the front foot.

"I said at Lord's I thought my game was heading back in the right direction," Cook said. "With a 10 and a 20 there it was quite a hard thing to say, but backing it up here I'm incredibly pleased. Getting back into the ball is vital for my game, I'm pretty good on the short ball, but in the danger zone I've nicked off quite a lot, so I need to make sure I'm getting my feet and my head back into the ball."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd