Cook: To be criticised for three years, I find quite hard to take


England captain Alastair Cook has reacted irately in the wake of ongoing criticism from former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne.

England skipper Alastair Cook has reacted irately in the wake of ongoing criticism from former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne.

Warne, who has fashioned an animated career as a television commentator since retiring from competitive cricket in 2013, publicly labeled Cook's captaincy "boring" and "wrong" earlier this year.

A historic five-nil series whitewash at the hands of the Australians, a lean stretch of form at the top of the order – and last week's hesitant and belated first- and second-innings declarations in the first Test against Sri Lanka have not aided batsman Cook's favour.

"To be criticised for three years totally, with those results, I find quite hard to take – and support and positivity is what this team needs," said Cook at Thursday's press conference before the start of the second Test at Headingley in Leeds on Friday.

"Something needs to be done. For three years of being England captain, in my eyes, I have been criticised for a hell of a lot of that. I've also won a lot of cricket games for England, won more ODI games than anyone as England captain, won an Ashes, won in India away and that's what I'm proud of as well."

The left-handed Cook has not struck a Test match century since May 2013's fine 130 against New Zealand in Leeds. Six half-tons in 22 innings since, however, have suggested a three-figure vigil is nearing.

"It is a concern, it's crucial that I get back to scoring as many runs as I can. I'm doing all the hard work and I just have to score the runs in the middle. I saw a statistic on my batting where the first 10 or 12 games as captain I scored six or sevens tons and in the next 12 games I scored seven halft-tons and no centuries," he added.

"So the real difference is I haven't been converting those chances into big scores which I did at the beginning of my captaincy. That's the frustrating thing for me and I'm doubly determined to lead from the front and try and get a score."

The hosts are expected to name an unchanged XI, while the Sri Lankans will likely replaced the injured Prasanna Jayawardene with the talented Dinesh Chandimal. Jayawardene hurt a finger during the series opener, which ended in a tight draw at Lord's in London last week.