Alastair Cook reflects on England’s thumping Headingley win, how Stuart Broad dealt with his doubters, and how Ben Stokes delayed his innings, plus reveals which overseas county player had the biggest impact on his career…
It is a little bit surprising how our results were so dramatically different at Lord’s and Headingley.
We obviously put ourselves under pressure with a poor performance in the first Test but we played nicely in the second. We were determined to turn things around and it showed good character for the guys to bounce back and play some really good cricket.
You don’t want to keep bouncing back, though – you want to be consistent and win series, not one game out of two. That is frustrating but we couldn’t do much about Lord’s at Headingley.
2:11 Catch up with all the action from day three of the second Test as England sealed a thumping innings win over Pakistan
We had a discussion, like all top teams do when things don’t go well – we knew we batted badly and had to respond and I thought we did. It was disappointing no one got a big hundred, but everyone got starts, contributed and looked in control of their batting.
The pitch looked very different to how it played, not too dissimilar from Lord’s in that respect. It seemed like a good wicket to bat on but the overhead conditions made it move more than we thought – not that I think it was a 174 all out wicket, like it wasn’t a 184 all out wicket at Lord’s.
Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad put Pakistan under real pressure in the first hour and we never let that go.
It was irritating for Stuart a little bit that all this stuff with Michael Vaughan happened and it seemed slightly unfair from Michael, if I’m honest.
There certainly seemed a bit of fallout afterwards when Vaughany questioned the timing of Stuart’s response to him initially suggesting he could be dropped, so it was a bit of a strange one really.
6:52 Stuart Broad spoke to Ian Ward after day one in Leeds about the subtle changes to his action and Michael Vaughan's comments
But it’s fine, it’s what pundits to do. We are paid to play cricket, they are paid to have an opinion.
Luckily, Stuart let his cricket do the talking and bowled really, really well, something he has done since he went away and worked on his action after the Ashes and before New Zealand.
Much has been made about this fuller length stuff, but these guys, Broady and Jimmy, have got 950 Test wickets between them and know what they are doing.
It’s not about full length, it’s about finding the right, challenging length on each pitch and different bowlers bowl in different ways.
I thought Sam Curran bowled nicely on debut – we also saw signs with his 20 that he can hold a bat and that he will be a very good cricketer.
3:32 Somerset off-spinner Dom Bess says he wants to become a genuine all-rounder for England
He and Dom Bess, who has played just two Tests, are hugely impressive characters and are not overawed at playing international cricket. They have a long way to go but are the sort of guys who will do the hard graft and be key players for the next 10 years or so.
The scrutiny they will face is a lot different to what I encountered when I made my debut – they have all the different aspects of social media to deal with, whereas when I started it was just Ceefax! Reaction and analysis was a lot slower back then.
I got slightly distracted by a person by the sightscreen early in our innings at Headingley – it turned out to be Ben Stokes! I couldn’t actually see who it was at first, I didn’t spot the ginger hair!
It was a bit frustrating to start with and he was obviously getting a bit of stick from inside the changing room with people telling him where he could and couldn’t sit. He tried to hide and then went back inside. No harm was done in the end!
0:54 Injured all-rounder Ben Stokes risked the wrath of England team-mate Alastair Cook by trying to hide behind the sightscreen during day one of the second Test.
Ben missed the game through injury which he wouldn’t have enjoyed. He never sits still, he has more energy than half the team put together! He was probably badgering the medical team and coaches for something to do just to expend some of that.
Jos Buttler’s 80 not out was a key innings, in that he got us an extra 30 or 40 runs that really put a few nails in Pakistan’s coffin and made sure we didn’t have to bat again.
We all know what Jos can do when he is batting with Broady and Jimmy at 10 and 11, that’s almost his bread and butter.
What impressed me, though, was the control and skill he batted with, he’s not just a whacker, he has a great technique and cricket brain. His method was excellent in both games and his knock at Headingley, in particular, shows how dangerous he is going to be for us.
It’s a shame we haven’t got another Test match against Pakistan, if I’m being brutally honest. I’m not sure I’m a massive fan of two-Test series, I think three-match series minimum make more sense, with then five against the likes of India and Australia.
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The second Test in Leeds was the Participation Test, which shone a light on grassroots cricket.
Getting kids involved is all about opportunities and I believe they are there. All Stars Cricket has been set up, while Chance to Shine is a brilliant initiative and one I love being involved with, giving kids the chance to play cricket in schools and see whether they like it or not.
Finally, it was interesting to see Ian Botham and David Lloyd pick their greatest overseas XIs from the history of county cricket, with it being 50 years since the first overseas player.
17:35 Ian Ward gives David Lloyd and Sir Ian Botham the task of picking their best overseas XI in county cricket – with input from Michael Atherton and stats guru Benedict Bermange.
Andy Flower would be the best one I played with at Essex, in terms of seeing how a fellow left-handed batter went about his business at the top of the order. Having that experience as a 19 or 20-year-old, with him up the other end, was extremely beneficial.
Playing against, I would say Mushtaq Ahmed at Sussex. He was highly influential when they won the County Championship three times in the 2000s. They were a very good side.
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