England v India: Alastair Cook & MS Dhoni request faster pitches
England captain Alastair Cook and his India counterpart MS Dhoni both called for the rest of their five-match Test series to be played on pitches with more pace and bounce.
The first Test petered out into a draw on Sunday on a Trent Bridge pitch so lifeless that several deliveries bounced twice before reaching the wicketkeeper.
"You can't read too much into the two teams until we hopefully get into some English conditions where it bounces above knee height," said Cook.
Dhoni said: "When you come to a country you want the speciality of that country to be put in front of you.
"England is not known for really fast wickets, more about swing bowling and overcast conditions. But you want a bit more life in the pitch. You want the wickets to be slightly quicker."
|England's James Anderson on the workload of the pace bowlers:|
|"It only becomes an issue if every pitch is like that. Then, the likelihood of getting through five matches diminishes."Today you saw no matter what pitch you play on, teams can be put under pressure, but unfortunately a couple of their guys got stuck in."We knew there was a small chance of winning but we gave it everything. Cookie was very keen to give the first couple of hours a real push, which we did."|
Despite fielding four seamers and no specialist spinner, all three of England's Tests this summer have been played on slow tracks offering their fast bowlers little help.
The Trent Bridge surface came under such criticism from players and pundits that groundsman Steve Birks issued a statement during the first afternoon's play admitting he may have made a mistake in his preparation.
Cook sympathised with Birks but expressed hope the wickets for the remaining four Tests would play to England's strengths.
"We asked for something that had some pace in it," said Cook. "We're not talking about excessive movement, we just wanted some pace in the wicket - a good Trent Bridge wicket.
"It wasn't like that, but I don't think it was through lack of trying. These things are very hard to do, with the weather and everything else.
"But I think it's important that wherever you go in the world you have the characteristics you would expect. So when you are in England, when the sun is out it is flat for batting and when the sun is in it swings around, with a pitch where the nicks carry."
A record last-wicket partnership of 198 between Joe Root and James Anderson rescued England from a batting collapse and gave them an outside chance of victory going into the final day.
Three quick wickets raised England's hopes before Stuart Binny's 78 and an unbeaten 63 from Bhuvneshwar Kumar guided India to safety.
|England v India 2014 Test series|
|First Test||9-13 July||Trent Bridge||Drawn|
|Second Test||17-21 July||Lord's||-|
|Third Test||27-31 July||Rose Bowl||-|
|Fourth Test||7-11 August||Old Trafford||-|
|Fifth Test||15-19 August||The Oval||-|
Cook, who used part-time bowlers in the latter part of the match to preserve the energy of his front-line seamers, said he was worried about England's batting frailties but delighted they came close to forcing a win.
"It was an extraordinary game of cricket," said Cook. "If you look at just the score, you wouldn't think anything strange had happened, but both sides had massive 10th wicket stands on a really flat wicket.
"To go from 130-1 to 202-7 was a disappointing session. Throughout these three Test matches we are having really bad periods and that is costing us.
"But we would have taken 500 and putting some pressure on India until the end. We still had that chance up until half an hour before tea, but in the end the wicket won."
Cook remains determined to turn his own batting form around after scoring only five runs in his only innings of the match, to extend his run of innings without a century to 25.
"It's a testing game," he said. "These things happen when you are not in the best of form, but it's how you react to them and how you practice. If you suddenly change everything then you are not being true to yourself.
"I've got to believe the wheel will turn at some stage. I need to start scoring runs at the top of the order for England. For a year I haven't done it and I need to."
Listen to Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew review the day's play on the Test Match Special podcast.