England skipper Alastair Cook has said that his side will not be resting on the 2-1 series advantage and will go for an outright win in the fifth and final cricket Test against India at the Oval starting tomorrow.
“We’re not going out there with any other mindset than this is a game to win,” said Cook on the eve of the match.
Cook and company humbled the visitors by an innings 54 runs in the fourth Test at Old Trafford and took an unassailable lead in the series.
The hosts know that even a draw will help them retain the Pataudi Trophy, which they won after a 4-0 thrashing of India in 2011 but the team is not going out with a defensive bent of mind in the upcoming Test.
“We’ve got to use that in isolation and not think that if we survive this we win the series. We’ve got to go out to win the game,” said a confident Cook.
The first Test in Nottingham was drawn, after which India won the second Test at Lord’s by 95 runs and took a 1-0 lead.
But then England bounced back with a 266-run triumph in Southampton and followed it up with another convincing win and
Cook is looking to ride the momentum.
“We’ve got to have the mindset we had after Lord’s when it was doom and gloom and we didn’t play very well.
We came out fighting when we really needed it. Just because we’ve won a couple of games, we can’t relax just because the atmosphere as lifted a bit around the side.
We have to be tough on ourselves and earn the right to put in a good performance,” he said.
The architect for this change in the score-line have been the English bowlers, with James Anderson leading the charge with 21 wickets from four Tests. And he has had immense help from an unexpected quarter with off-spinner Moeen Ali taking 19 wickets in as many matches.
“Moeen has been brilliant. I’ve not seen improvement like that. Even facing him in the nets, the speed he is now bowling and the control, while keeping that dip and spin, is fantastic,” said Cook, praising his part-timer turned lead spinner.
“You can, when you try to increase your pace, lose a lot of that flight and guile on the ball. But he hasn’t done that and that’s a great skill to have. And he’s still going to improve.
That’s encouraging. I didn’t think he’d get 19 wickets in the series at the start, but I didn’t think he’d be bowling like this and, now he is, there’s no reason why he can’t take more wickets.”
Meanwhile, Anderson is seven wickets away from Ian Botham’s all-time England Test-record of 383 wickets. Though if the pace spearhead is unable to get to Botham’s feat in London it will be a long wait for him until April when England take on West Indies.
“It’s an amazing achievement. If he does it in this continued…