ALASTAIR COOK was delighted to lead from the front as a second-wicket stand of 185 with fellow centurion Joe Root put England in charge on day one of the second Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford.
England’s batsmen shouldered much of the blame for a 75-run defeat in the series opener at Lord’s last week, but the tormentor-in-chief on that occasion – leg-spinner Yasir Shah – returned figures of 0-111 from 31 overs in Manchester.
Cook hit 105 – his 29th Test century taking him level with Australian great Don Bradman – before falling to one which kept low from Mohammad Amir and Yorkshireman Root was unbeaten on 141 as England reached stumps on 314-4.
“I thought we played at a better tempo today,” said England captain Cook.
“It looked like more of a Test-match tempo and we still scored at a good rate.
“That’s what’s pleasing as a captain – you talk about things and to go out and do it straight away as a batting unit I thought was really impressive.
“I hadn’t had a hundred for a while in a Test match, just also as a batting group we’ve been under pressure.
“As a captain you tend to talk a bit more about things and I’ve talked about individual responsibility, so when you say a few things it’s nice to be able to go out there and back it up.”
Root had made scores of 65, 93, 48 and nine in his last four innings for England across all formats, and was delighted to finally reach three figures for his 10th Test century.
“There was a lot of frustration the last couple of games, getting in position and then not going on, so it was nice to make the most of it,” he added. “I had that real hunger throughout the whole innings.
“We’re obviously in a good position now after the first day – but it’s about making the most of that tomorrow and making sure we can go and get some partnerships going.
“I thought we played across the ball a little bit at Lord’s – today we played a lot straighter and gave ourselves a better chance, less risk.”