‘We can win the Ashes in home conditions’


England Test captain Alastair Cook has insisted that his side can still win the upcoming Ashes, despite losing the second Test against New Zealand at Headingley this week.

England led the series one-nil going into the Test in Leeds, but they lost by 199 runs on day five, losing all 10 wickets on the day, but Cook feels the strides made at Lord's the week before is the true reflection.

Cook, who scored two half tons himself, said when asked if he felt they could win the Ashes: "Yes, I do. In our home conditions, we are comfortable.

"But we have to make a step forward as a side and we have to do it quickly."

A major area of concern is the top order batting, with Ian Bell and Gary Ballance unable to score many runs against the Kiwis, and also in the series against the West Indies before that.

But Cook said:  "They are fantastic players. Clearly they haven't scored the runs they would have liked and they have five weeks to get some form in county cricket.

"There will be concern because they haven't scored the runs, but form comes and goes. Two games in isolation does not make you a bad player."

An added worry was the impact of spinner Moeen Ali, with the all-rounder taking just five wickets in the series and generally failing to trouble the Kiwis. But Cook had faith Moeen would find his form soon.

The skipper said:  "Mo hasn't bowled as well as he bowled last summer, so he's got some work to do to get that consistency back.

"He does spin the ball hard, so if he can get that control back we know he can be a threat."