Cook defends nature of pitches

Cook defends nature of pitches

England captain Alastair Cook said adapting to different conditions was all part of the game, amid suggestions that pitches for the Ashes series had been prepared to order.
Cook’s men are 2-0 up with three to play heading into the third Test against Australia at Manchester’s Old Trafford starting on Thursday.

At both Trent Bridge and Lord’s, where Ashes-holders England won the second Test by a colossal 347 runs, pitches were bare and dry, aiding reverse swing and spin — two areas where the hosts are considered to have an advantage over their arch-rivals.
Old Trafford has long had a reputation for taking turn and so should suit England off-spinner Graeme Swann, joint lead wicket-taker in the series thus far with 13 wickets.

Indeed, England have added left-arm spinner Monty Panesar to their squad.
It was at Old Trafford where England off-spinner Jim Laker took a Test match record 19 wickets for 90 runs against Australia in 1956. However, the tourists were convinced the pitch had been doctored, with former Australia leg-spinner Bill O’Reilly, covering the series as a journalist, saying: “Good god, I’d get 12 wickets on that excuse for a wicket without bothering to remove my coat!”

Two days out before this year’s Ashes Test at Old Trafford, brown patches were visible on the pitch.

“Old Trafford is notorious for having a wicket that is not aesthetically pleasing if I could put it that way,” Cook told reporters. “But I don’t think it’s going to make any difference at all. I think it’s actually a better looking Old Trafford wicket than normally actually.”

Australia, who have now lost six Tests in a row, came into this series on the back of a 4-0 loss in India where pitch conditions were similar to the ones they are experiencing now.

Cook, however, said this was more a case of coincidence than conspiracy. “I think the hot summer has certainly made it difficult to prepare anything different.

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