England batsman Alastair Cook believes England will come back stronger after their innings defeat by South Africa in the first Test. A loss for England in this week’s second Test at Headingley will see England lose not only the series, but also their place at the top of the world rankings.
Commenting on England’s (2/1 To Beat South Africa) chances of a turnaround, Cook said: “It's not difficult to pick yourselves up after a loss like that, but it's clearly not a nice experience. In previous years maybe, for example when we went to Australia and lost 5-0, that was slightly different because we knew we weren't good enough to beat Australia. But with what this England side has achieved over the last few years, we know we can beat South Africa (2/1 To Beat England) and we have the players to do that, it's a different mentality.
The emphatic nature of England’s loss in the first Test prompted crisis talks between England’s back-room staff and players, but Cook (7/2 Top England Bat 1st Innings) believes his side are ready for the inevitable onslaught South Africa will bring to Leeds. “It would be an amazing achievement to beat a side like South Africa and it is certainly not out of the question. I know it is all doom and gloom now but we all know how things can happen in Test cricket. We have just got to make sure we steel ourselves for fighting for those five days.”
England pace man James Anderson (2/1 Top England 1st Innings Wicket Taker) has alluded to the idea that holding the world number one Test spot has led to the players feeling jaded, but Cook offered a more simple explanation: “While getting to number one we hit standards with people averaging 100 and people picking up wickets for fun. It was probably impossible to maintain those standards and we had a little bit of a dip and that has shown in our results. I don't put that down to the pressure of being number one at all.” (11/8 Second Test Will End In A Draw).