Cook on Strauss: 'We suit each other in the middle. We don't get flustered'

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The Independent Online

Alastair Cook praised his opening partner Andrew Strauss after the two of them scored centuries as England battled back in Brisbane. Cook and Strauss shared an opening stand of 188 and, in doing so, they overtook Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe to become England's most productive opening partnership in history.

Cook put their compatibility as a partnership down to a shared sense of calm at the crease and a relaxed mental approach.

"We are very similar-minded," Cook said of his captain and partner. "We suit each other batting out in the middle. We don't get flustered about a lot of things and we are able to keep things in perspective."

The fightback on the fourth day was a personal triumph for Cook as well as being a success for the team. It was only his second Ashes century despite playing all of the 2006-07 and 2009 series: he averaged 27.60 on the tour four years ago and just 24.66 in 2009.

So Cook felt as if he had proved a point with his innings, and was especially pleased after a difficult summer. "The conditions at home were the toughest I have ever experienced as an opening batter," he said. "It swung, it was very tough for a lot of the top order on both sides."

This made his success in more favourable conditions in Brisbane even more enjoyable.

"[The summer] reminds you when you do get conditions that don't swing as much and the wicket is nice to cash in," Cook said. "In the first innings, I worked really hard and got out for 60-odd and that was very frustrating. It was nice the next opportunity to go on and get a hundred and hopefully I can keep going."

Cook was keen to acknowledge that the job was only half done. "There are another four games to go," he pointed out. "It was important that we achieved something special in only losing one wicket but there are 90 overs to go tomorrow, so we have to come out and do that again tomorrow."

One of the bowlers England had most success against was Mitchell Johnson, who had another difficult Ashes experience. But opening batsman Shane Watson was keen to defend his side's misfiring spearhead.

"I dont think you can single out Mitch," Watson said. "All the bowlers didn't bowl particularly well."

Watson accepted his own share of the blame for the poor bowling performance. "I was bowling one loose ball an over and that's my job to tie up one end and let the others attack," he said. "It comes down to execution and bowling exactly where we want to."

Regardless, Watson remained confident about Australia's chances of forcing a result. "We are still in the game, but we need to turn it around very quickly," Watson said.

"We've seen the game ebb and flow through the four days so far. I think it's going to be the same way throughout the series."