Greatness beckons for Cook - KP

  • Last Updated: November 27 2012, 7:42 GMT

Kevin Pietersen expects his Test captain Alastair Cook to put himself out on his own as England's most prolific all-time runscorer.

Alastair Cook: Has 22 Test tons and is still only 27 years old
Alastair Cook: Has 22 Test tons and is still only 27 years old

Both men are joint top - with three greats in Wally Hammond, Geoff Boycott and Colin Cowdrey - on the list of those who have made the most Test centuries for England.

Pietersen's astounding 186 and Cook's 122 not only took them both up to 22 centuries, but underpinned a famous 10-wicket victory over India as England levelled the four-match series at 1-1.

Their heroics were consolidated by Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, the former taking 11 wickets in the match and England's two spinners responsible for 19 in all between them.

Cook's tourists can therefore once again foster realistic ambitions of becoming the first from England to win a Test series in India since David Gower's team of 1984/85.

Their next assignment is in Kolkata a week on Wednesday, with the final Test in Nagpur after that.

Irrespective of their fortunes there, though, Pietersen is predicting that Cook - five years his junior - will become England's greatest record-breaking batsman.

"Cookie has not spoken about himself much but he is only 27 and has got 22 Test hundreds," he said, as he and his captain reflected on their win in well under three and a half days at the Wankhede Stadium.

"There is no reason why he shouldn't get 35 Test hundreds and have a wonderful career."

Cook may well achieve those heights, and if so will be well served by his unflappable temperament as well as compact technique.

The opener followed his rearguard 176 in the first Test defeat in Ahmedabad with a fourth successive hundred in his four matches to date as captain.

On a different, arguably more challenging surface, he demonstrated his characteristic resourcefulness by adapting his method.

At the Sardar Patel Stadium last week, he was crease-bound and reliant on a decisive front-foot movement to smother spin on a slow, low pitch; here, with more bounce and sharper turn, he was prepared to advance out of his ground in attack.

Cook knows it is no easy task to stay ahead of the game, especially in alien conditions.

"There will be tough times, of course," he said. "It is hard work against quality spinners.

"The ball turns a lot. But we have to keep working hard, so if you do get in it gets easier.

"I don't think you are ever going to crack it - that is not the right word.

"What we can continue to do is improve.

"I know how we are training and I know watching the guys, we are improving slow and steady.

"This (victory) will give us a lot of belief that we are doing the right thing."


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