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Gooch: No concerns with captain Cook

ESPN staff
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Graham Gooch: Series has been a reality check

Graham Gooch has admitted England have not been up to previous standards in the third and final Test against New Zealand, but has backed captain Alastair Cook.

England are on the verge of losing the Test series to New Zealand in Auckland as they trail by 390 runs with six wickets in hand, and need to hold station at the crease on the final day in order to salvage a draw.

Gooch, the most prolific run scorer of all-time and England's leading Test run maker, says the players just have to hold their hands up and accept they have been outplayed by the better side.

"We're not up to the standard that we've produced in the past on a consistent basis so we'll have to look at that," Gooch, England's batting coach, said.

"I wouldn't say they've taken them lightly after the first match where they dominated the game. They've got some good cricketers, some experienced cricketers and some good young bowlers as well but they didn't play well. What else do you want me to say?

"They've out-bowled us and they've out-batted us so far in this game. We've got to produce two good innings to save the game and then it will be a draw in the series. It's not what we would have wanted when we came here but credit to New Zealand, they've played really good cricket."

Despite England being in danger of ending the winter on a low note, Gooch believes there are some positives to take.

"We've had some great Test series in recent times, beating India 4-0 at home, the Ashes, coming back from losing the first Test in India and playing some really good cricket. In this one we've not produced our best," he said.

And the 59-year-old lent his support to Cook, tipping him to bounce back from a disappointing series.

"I think Alastair [Cook] has done well in his captaincy, he's learning, and it's a work in progress. He's a young captain and every game you captain win, lose or draw is a little further step down the road in his experience cycle.

"So in this match things have gone badly for England, and he'll accept that, and hopefully he'll come back stronger. I'm sure he will," Gooch said.

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