High praise for Cook

LONDON — England head coach Andy Flower paid tribute to captain Alastair Cook after he led his side to an unassailable 3-0 Ashes series lead with a 74-run victory at the Emirates Durham ICG.

Australia collapsed from 147 for 1 to 224 all out in their second innings, with Stuart Broad ripping through them yesterday.

Flower was happy to pick the fast bowler out for praise but also came to the defence of skipper Cook, who has come in for criticism from some quarters.

“It was a sensational match and it has been a great series,” said Flower. “There has been some really good cricket played and it has been competitive.

“Cook’s captaincy has been excellent. He has been strong in the dressing room and out in the field and made some decisions yesterday that turned the game.

“He is still a young man but he led the side brilliantly. He is a strong leader and has made some really good decisions in this Test series.

“I am not sure what is said off the field because we judge ourselves by our standards in our own dressing room.

“Broad was outstanding. He showed real flair, competitiveness, nous and heart and it was nice to be part of that session when Broad and Cook turned things around for us.”

Flower refused to be drawn on whether the selectors would make changes to the squad for the final Test at The Oval, which begins on August 21.

He also declined to give his views on DRS, which has come under fire at times during the Ashes.

“We will meet over the next couple of days and will talk about our side for the fifth Test but I can’t see us changing much,” he added.

“It’s still an Ashes Test and we are determined to win it.

“DRS is not my specialist area and I don’t really want to go into it. It has been talked about a lot in the press.

“But if we went back to just two umpires on the field it would not solve the issue and would not bring about more correct decisions.

“We the cricket community can calmly go about improving DRS.” (Sky)

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