New Zealand v England: Alastair Cook ‘second only to Don Bradman’

New Zealand v England: Brendon McCullum says "genius" batsman Alastair Cook is second only to legend Don Bradman

alastair cook
Alastair Cook scored 116 in the second innings of the first Test Photo: The Sport Review

alastair cook

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum says England batsman Alastair Cook is second only to Australian great Don Bradman.

The England skipper bagged his 24th Test century as he produced a knock of 116 to help the tourists bounce back from a poor first innings and secure a draw in the first Test of the three-match series in Dunedin.

Cook is already peerless at the top of England’s list of century makers but still has some way to go to climb Test cricket’s all-time list of centurions, where Sachin Tendulkar leads the way with 51.

Bradman managed a staggering average of 99.94 runs in his 80 innings in 52 Tests, and McCullum says only the Aussie legend can lay claim to being a better batsman than “genius” Cook.

“Where he is at in his career at the moment, he is as good as anyone who has ever played the game, barring Bradman,” said McCullum.

“He’s obviously a genius batsman, his record is testament to that.”

But despite his praise for Cook, McCullum vowed that his New Zealand attack will look to target any area where they feel the England captain may be vulnerable.

“We just have to bowl areas where we think we can dismiss him and if he’s good enough to overcome that then so be it,” McCullum added.

Meanwhile, Cook has warned his attack to expect difficult conditions in Wellington, with the Basin Reserve ground notoriously unkind to seam bowlers.

“The wind will blow here, and it is a challenge for the bowlers. It is a balancing act, bowling into the wind, at one end, and ensuring that we do not go soft at the other,” Cook told BBC Test Match Special.

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