Play own way, Cook told

LONDON • Trevor Bayliss may have told England they needed to "fight fire with fire" if they are to regain cricket's Ashes but the team's new Australian coach does not want captain Alastair Cook to change his batting style.

Bayliss' first game in charge saw England thrash Australia by 169 runs in the first Test in Cardiff on Saturday with more than a day to spare, as they went 1-0 up in the five-match Ashes series.

Cook, often criticised for formulaic leadership, saw just about every one of his bowling and fielding changes pay off at Sophia Gardens.

He also held three catches, including a stunning effort in an unusual short mid-wicket position to dismiss Brad Haddin on Saturday.

The one downside for Cook was that the opening batsman added just 32 runs in all to his tally of 9,000 which had already seen the 30-year-old left-hander become England's all-time leading Test run-scorer.

Cook, as if conscious of the need to buy into the "attacking" mindset which served England well during a preceding one-day series win over New Zealand for which he was not selected, appeared keener to go down the pitch to off-spinner Nathan Lyon more often than in previous Ashes contests.

But former Sri Lanka coach Bayliss said there was no need for either Cook or the experienced Ian Bell, who enjoyed a welcome return to form with a second-innings 60, to abandon the methods that had brought them a combined 49 hundreds in Test cricket.

He said: "Those two guys are class players and can change their game to suit any situation. The rest of the guys can bat around them."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2015, with the headline 'Play own way, Cook told'. Print Edition | Subscribe