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Captain Cook ready for Ashes challenge

Alastair Cook will be leading England at Cardiff. Credit: PA

England captain Alastair Cook believes he's found form at the right time ahead of The Ashes.

The Essex opener, who recently became all-time leading Test run scorer, reaching 9000 career runs, says he needs to take this form forward in this vital series.

The last three or four months, from the start of that West Indies tour, I feel my game's come back to me a little bit.

I haven't been searching for it as much, and a lot of that is down to the work in February and March with Gary (Palmer) and Goochie (Graham Gooch) as well.

I feel in a good place mentally as well with my game. But it's all well and good saying that here - it's about delivering

– Alastair Cook


England captain Cook excited by Bayliss 'coup'

Alastair Cook has a new coach to work under. Credit: PA

Alastair Cook believes England have pulled off a "great coup" by hiring highly experienced Australian Trevor Bayliss to their coaching role ahead of this summer's Ashes series.

Bayliss was unveiled as Peter Moores' replacement on Tuesday and will take over from Paul Farbrace, who will drop back down to assistant, in time to face his compatriots in July and August.

Trevor's experience in all forms of the game, he's a successful coach, everywhere he's gone he's been successful, his one-day record is very good as well so it will be interesting to hear his ideas on that side.

It's obviously for England a great coup to have him in terms of his experience, certainly of Australian players but just of the world game as well.

I think the guys are looking forward to him turning up, getting to meet him and seeing what he says about things.

– Alastair Cook

Cook and Root launch England fightback

Alastair Cook finished the session on 69. Credit: PA

England captain Alastair Cook and Joe Root put on a hundred in the first session of the fourth day to give the hosts some hope of saving the test.

Things looked bad for England early on when Ian Bell was dismissed in the first over of the day.

Bell's departure brought Cook and Root together, with the two rebuilding England's innings, including the latter surviving a third umpire call on whether a catch had carried to square leg and an LBW appeal in the final over.

Root reached 58 not out, to complement his captain's 69 runs undefeated, leaving England 41 ahead.


Cook registers 10th successive score under 50

Cook appeared dejected as he walked off. Credit: Reuters

Tillakaratne Dilshan's 18th one-day international hundred in his 300th match for Sri Lanka left England needing a ground-record run chase at the Premadasa Stadium.

It was Dilshan (101), of Sri Lanka's three veteran batsmen, who played the starring role in a total of 302 for six.

Alastair Cook found a little confidence with the bat and, after sweeping and then cutting Dilruwan Perera for boundaries, he slog-swept the off-spinner for only his second six of the year.

But his luck ran out, and his scrappy innings was over, when he edged Lakmal again and Jayawardene this time took a neat catch low down.

Cook had to go, after the umpires checked the ball carried, for his 10th successive score under 50.

Even with Root still scrapping, on 137 for six from 30 overs, England were washed up.

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