Alastair Cook hopeful that England can clinch series at the Wanderers
England skipper Alastair Cook is hopeful that his side can achieve victory in the third Test against South Africa that begins at the Wanderers on Thursday. Cook expects the pitches in the remaining two Tests to be result-oriented and is excited at the prospect of winning away against a strong opposition such as the Proteas.
The visitors won the opening match of the four-match series at Durban by a margin of 241 runs before playing out a high-scoring draw at Newlands in Cape Town. Thrilled by the prospect of a series victory, Cook was understandably delighted while talking to reporters on the eve of the third Test.
“It’s an exciting time to play and we are in a really good position. The next two games are probably both on result wickets which means we need to win one of them to win the series, and that’s a great situation to be in,” he said on Wednesday.
Cook was, however, quick to remind his side not to be over-confident as they attempt to register a series win having lost to Pakistan in the recent series which was held in the UAE.
“We’ve played some good cricket so far on tour but obviously, there is a danger in saying ‘Ah, we just need to win one game’ and looking too far ahead. There is a lot of hard work still, and you need to do a lot of good things to put South Africa under pressure and win the game,” Cook said. “As players, leading into the game, that’s what we have started to concentrate on and the results will look after themselves if we play well.”
Cook focussed solely on England despite South Africa’s change of captaincy
When asked about his views regarding South Africa’s change in captaincy midway through the series with Hashim Amla stepping down from his post after the second Test, Cook replied that he is focussed solely on his side’s strengths and weaknesses and reiterated that the hosts will be eager to make a strong comeback in the series.
“We focus on what we can control and how we intend to play our cricket. How are we going to get our 20 wickets here? How are we going to score the runs? South Africa are a strong side and showed a lot of resilience in Cape Town, and they’ll be trying to get back into the series,” Cook said.
With regards to team selections, Cook said that should opener Alex Hales fail to attain full match fitness ahead of the third Test, Nick Crompton would play as an opener with Gary Ballance making a comeback into the side in the longer format at the No 3 slot.