With England staring at the abyss following a tortuous day in the field at the WACA, Alastair Cook probably didn’t choose the wisest moment to step across the post-match television cameras.
Chasing a first innings of 403 all out from the tourists, the third day saw the Aussies lose just one wicket to finish 549-4 and 146 ahead.
Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh remain unbeaten on 229 and 181 respectively, with England looking for help from the rain to avoid relinquishing the Ashes.
And, Cook’s unscheduled appearance during BT Sports Panel’s post-mortem brought a no-holds barred assessment from former England captain Michael Vaughan on Cook’s form with the bat.
“That was Alastair Cook, by the way, he's probably on the way to the nets,” said Vaughan, before presenter Matt Smith added: “A rueful look back as if to say no I’m not.”
Cook’s highest score this series is 37, and in his 150th Test match at the WACA, he registered a first innings score of just seven, eliciting suggestions from retired Aussie fast bowler Mitchell Johnson that Cook was ready to quit at the end of the series.
Cook’s riposte to reporters?
"The people who are saying that have had no contact time with me.
"They wouldn't know the extra nets I've been doing behind closed doors. I was with [batting consultant] Gary (Palmer) for an hour-and-a-half yesterday morning, desperately trying to keep working at my game. That's probably not a guy who has given in."
One man to retain belief in Cook is Graham Gooch.
The former England captain told iNews: “I have coached Alastair for years and have learned that his strongest muscle is his mind. He has had a few bad games, but if he remains faithful to his technique and preparation then it will come good.
"He doesn’t lose ability overnight – he has a lot of good years left in him. He just has to believe. A little like England fans need to keep believing.”
Whether the well of belief will have run dry by the end of this Ashes series remains to be seen.
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