Cook targeted in Ashes campaign

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cricket: James Pattinson believes stopping Alastair Cook will be key if Australia are to reclaim the Ashes this summer.

The England captain scored 766 runs at an average of 127.66 as England defended the urn Down Under last time and Australia paceman Pattinson knows getting the Essex batsman early will be vital.

Pattinson, who took 3-61 to help bowl out Somerset for 260 on the third day of the tour match at Taunton yesterday, said: “We know England’s strengths and weaknesses and as the first Test gets nearer we will get together as a group and look at some footage of them.

“We are aware that Alastair Cook is their leader and he leads by example so to get him early will be very valuable to us. When he is going well the England team seem to do well too.

“We know that Joe Root will be opening in the Essex game, but we haven’t gone into that much yet. He’s a very good player, who is up and coming and has had some great results so far. I know he faces the new ball for Yorkshire, but it is going to be a different challenge for him doing so in Test cricket.”

The Australians require a further 224 runs against Somerset to win today with all second-innings wickets intact.