Cricket: Unhappy Cook demands England improvement

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Alastair Cook knows significant improvement is a must after England’s batting let them down in yesterday’s first NatWest Series match against New Zealand at Lord’s.

Cook described England’s 227 for nine as a “nothing score” on a good pitch, and it was one they had little chance of defending - even after James Anderson took two wickets in the first over of the Kiwis’ reply.

Martin Guptill (103 not out) and Ross Taylor (54) took over in a third-wicket stand of 122, leaving England to rue a succession of poor shots after eight batsmen had reached double-figures but none passed 37.

England, gearing up in this short series for the Champions Trophy in barely a week’s time, have plenty of thinking to do before the second match of three in Southampton tomorrow.

“I think we said after 20 overs 260 or 270 would be a par score on that wicket,” Cook said. “We pretty much got ourselves into a position to do that, at 120 for two. Then obviously losing those three wickets quickly took the sting out of our innings.”