Alastair Cook insists his job is not yet done despite notching his 33rd international century and batting for all of day three to keep England in the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan’s bowlers were unable to penetrate Cook’s defences during all three sessions at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium yesterday as the England captain guided his side to 290-3 at the close – with a heroic, unbeaten knock of 168.
England could have been even better placed for the push this morning had they not lost Ian Bell (63) and Mark Wood (four) late in the day, after Moeen Ali fell for 35 in the first session, but Cook and Yorkshire’s Joe Root will resume 233 runs shy of Pakistan’s mammoth effort of 523-8 declared.
Cook’s stubborn resistance and elegant strokeplay enabled him to register his 28th Test century and 33rd in all formats – which saw him surpass Kevin Pietersen as England’s most prolific centurion.
England’s ability to carve out a result in the first of three Tests could well hinge on how long Cook stays at the crease on Friday and he insists he and his team-mates still have plenty of work to do.
“It’s (been) a good three days in one way to be 168 not out,” he said.
“It’s been tough physically but I’m pleased to have got through that last hour-and-a-half when I was a little bit tired.
“It’s a different style of cricket (on the sub-continent) - certainly slow, low wickets.
“If you can bat to the best of your game and be patient – maybe take the odd calculated risk in your area – you can bat for long periods of time.
“We’ve got the master in our dressing room with (consultant coach) Mahela (Jayawardene) who is so good at doing it and he was like, ‘you can do the whole day easy’.
“It’s all you’ve got to do – keep batting your way. It was a slow day of Test cricket and we have to bat ourselves back into the game on a wicket like this and whether it will deteriorate or not I don’t know, but that’s the style of sub-continent cricket.”