England in West Indies: Alastair Cook says batsmen must learn to 'adapt'

Jonny Bairstow is bowled
Jonny Bairstow is England's leading run-scorer in the series with 108 at an average of 27

England's batsmen must learn to adapt following the collapses that have led to a series defeat in the West Indies, says former captain Alastair Cook.

The tourists have been bowled out for 77, 246, 187 and 132 to lose the first two Tests.

"There's the expression of 'this is the way I play', but you have to adapt," Cook told BBC's The Cricket Social.

"Is it different players? I'm not sure it is. It might be different mindsets at different times."

In the second Test in Antigua, England batted for only 103.1 overs across their two innings as they lost by 10 wickets inside three days.

On a surface which offered variable bounce from the opening day, West Indies survived for 131 overs to make 306 in the first innings, before completing the simple task of chasing 14 for victory on Saturday.

"They didn't seem to show much fight. They didn't seem to show that grit," said Cook, England's all-time leading Test run-scorer.

"You can't say many of the balls England got out to in the second innings were unplayable."

England have long been struggling to find a settled batting line-up. In the period between the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012 and the end of his own career last summer, Cook had 12 different opening partners.

Although they beat India 4-1 at home and won 3-0 in Sri Lanka last year, only three England batsmen average more than 40 in Test cricket since the beginning of 2018.

They are Tom Curran (averaging 62 from one Test), Chris Woakes (44.60 from four) and Ben Foakes (41.50 from five), none of whom is a specialist batsman.

In Antigua, debutant Joe Denly replaced Keaton Jennings to open alongside Rory Burns, with Jonny Bairstow at three and captain Joe Root at four.

Bairstow, who has spent the majority of his career batting no higher than number five, made 14 in the second innings, bowled for the ninth time in his past 18 Test innings.

"Bairstow batting at three, they have a big decision over that," said Cook, who scored 12,472 runs in a record 161 Tests for England.

"For him to work at three, he has to really want to do it. He'll have to tighten up. With his attacking nature, he will be vulnerable when the ball is nipping around."

Root spent much of last summer batting at three, but dropped a place in the fourth Test against India in Southampton, expressing his preference for number four.

"This will become a headline, but should Joe Root bat at three?" said Cook.

"I know he doesn't want to bat at three, but in the squad there a lot of people who can bat four, five, six, seven, but not many who can bat three.

"He is our world-class batter. If he went to three, would it change the situation?"

The final Test in St Lucia starts on 9 February.

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