Alastair Cook plays down whitewash talk
England captain Alastair Cook believes it's too early to talk about an Ashes whitewash
England captain Alastair Cook has stepped in to play down talk of a possible Ashes whitewash as England went 2-0 up in the series with a crushing 347 run win in the second Test.
The Lords victory, England's third biggest test win in terms of runs, followed a tense 14-run win at Trent Bridge in the First Test match. England have not won the first two tests of an Ashes series for 123 years.
Cook, speaking in typically diplomatic fashion, described the talk of a whitewash as 'certainly too early', and said that his team wouldn't be 'taking anything for granted or taking our foot off the pedal' as they prepare for the Third Test, which starts on August 1st at Old Trafford.
Despite twice finding themselves 30-3 in the Test match, England had no trouble dispatching the Australians with ease, largely thanks to hundreds from Ian Bell and man of the match Joe Root, and a 9 wicket haul from spinner Graeme Swann.
In contrast to their hosts, Australia batted meekly at Lords, succumbing to 128 all out in the first innings, and bowled waywardly, with Ryan Harris' first innings 5-72 the only major contribution. They have been left with a great deal to reflect on with the Old Trafford test fast approaching, and may look to try some different combinations in their tour match at Hove that begins on Friday.
They were dealt a further blow on Monday as fast bowler James Pattinson was ruled out of the tour with a stress fracture to his lower back. Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird are vying to take his place. Australia are also likely to recall off-spinner Nathan Lyon on a turning track in Manchester because, despite his Trent Bridge heroics with the bat, Ashton Agar is yet to threaten with the ball.
With the Australians yet to score a century in the series, the batting line-up will also come under scrutiny, with David Warner back in contention after a stint in Zimbabwe with Australia A, and Michael Clarke likely to move up the order from his favoured number five spot.
Cook was quick to credit his players for the way in which they bounced back from sticky spots at Lords, saying: "at certain moments in this game we were right under the cosh, but it is to the credit of the players that they dealt with those moments... Our bowlers have dug us out (in the first innings)".
Like Australia, England also have injury concerns, as Kevin Pietersen picked up a strain in his left calf that ruled him out of the entire fourth day's play at Lords. He is a major doubt for the fourth Test. It is likely that the hosts will turn to Nottinghamshire's James Taylor to replace him but Nick Compton and Ben Stokes remain in contention. Alternatively, England may look to bolster their spinning options through Monty Panesar or Lancashire's Simon Kerrigan.
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