Welcome break for Cook, team after losses

ANOTHER WIN: Indian captain Virat Kohli, right, shakes hands with England captain Alastair Cook after winning the third test Picture: AFP
ANOTHER WIN: Indian captain Virat Kohli, right, shakes hands with England captain Alastair Cook after winning the third test
Picture: AFP

England captain Alastair Cook is looking forward to a rare week-long break in a hectic playing schedule after the heavy third test defeat against India in Mohali on Tuesday.

Virat Kohli’s side won by eight wickets to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-test series.

But England’s players are looking to unwind with some welcome down time in Dubai before making the short trip from the Gulf resort city to Mumbai for the fourth test, which begins on December 8.

“The break comes at a very good time, obviously, after three back-to-back test matches,” Cook said.

Some of the England squad have been on duty since landing in Bangladesh on September 30 for three one-day internationals followed by the 1-1 draw in the test series there.

Cook himself has spent just 18 hours with his new-born daughter after dashing home from the Bangladesh tour for her birth.

“We have this week off and I think, most people are going to Dubai,” Cook said.

“Mentally, it will be break from cricket. We will come back a little bit more refreshed.”

Cook’s team has endured a tough couple of months after losing a test to Bangladesh for the first time and are now staring at a series defeat against top-ranked India.

But four years ago in India, England came back from 1-0 down to win the four-test series 2-1 and Cook said if they showed greater consistency they could still save the series.

“The challenge is to try and put in that performance in which consistently, over five days, we play well.

“We have done it in one game [the first test in Rajkot], we haven’t done it in the other two,” Cook said.

He said it was difficult to compare this trip with the 2012 tour, as the two teams had changed character since.

“The India we played in 2012 was different, probably an ageing team compared to now,” Cook said, adding that his side were still learning how to tackle unfamiliar subcontinent conditions with low, turning pitches.

“In 2012 we were a lot more experienced and had played a lot more in the subcontinent over the three years before that.

In this side, only two in the top order [Joe Root and Cook himself] have played more than one or two games in the subcontinent before we played in Bangladesh. That’s probably the difference.”

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