‘The senior players must stand up’, says Alastair Cook

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“The five or six of us who are the real senior guys must lead from the front and put in a match-winning performance”

England captain Alastair Cook has announced that “the senior players must stand up” if the national team are going to have any chance of levelling the series during the second Test in Adelaide.

Cook admitted that none of the senior players in the squad performed well during the first Test in Brisbane, but added that they are ready to redeem themselves.

“The senior players must stand up,” he said. “That’s how we’re going to get back in this series. They have to lead the way.

“We’re lucky we have a huge number of caps and a number of people who have delivered.

“We will have to draw on that. The five or six of us who are the real senior guys must lead from the front and put in a match-winning performance.

“If you want to win you have to score big runs. And we haven’t been doing that.

“We didn’t do it last week and lost heavily. Frank words were spoken – if your start wrapping yourselves in cotton wool and saying it will be all right, then you’ve missed the point.

“We were exposed at certain points. Now we need people to stand and deliver. The stats say we haven’t got 400 and we need to get past that total.”

Australia left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson was responsible for sending shockwaves through the England camp during the first Test, but Cook noted that he will not be able to keep bowling aggressively during the second Test as the Adelaide pitch is nowhere near as fast and bouncy as the Gabba’s was.

“When the ball is whizzing around your nose it happens so quickly,” Cook said. “You have to stay calm, you have to know what shots you can and can’t play and stick to it ­religiously.

“You know a spell like that can’t last for ever. In these conditions the third and fourth spells won’t be as quick, you have to put miles into their legs.”

Speaking about the sledging controversy between Australia captain Michael Clarke and England pace bowler James Anderson, Cook said: “It’s not a tea party, it’s Test cricket. But no matter how much emotion, we have to make sure we behave out there.”

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