Graham Napier: It's a test for Alastair Cook but he'll rise to it

Echo: Graham Napier - has backed his Essex team-mate Alastair Cook to rise to the challenge Graham Napier - has backed his Essex team-mate Alastair Cook to rise to the challenge

GRAHAM Napier has backed his Essex team-mate Alastair Cook to rise to the challenge when England take on Australia in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide tonight.

Cook and his England side are desperate to bounce back from their crushing 381-run opening Test defeat in Brisbane 10 days ago.

All-rounder Napier is predicting another tough test for Cook and his England team-mates against a buoyant Australia side.

But he is sure skipper Cook will inspire his team and get them back to winning ways.

Napier said: “It’s a huge test of Cookie’s leadership but I’m sure he’ll rise to the challenge.

“He leads the way with the bat and I’m sure he’ll do the same as captain.

“With the squad that England have out there in Australia and the way that they’ve played over the last three or four years, I’m sure they’ll be able to bounce back and be stronger in this Test.”

England will have to make changes to their batting order for the second Test, after Jonathan Trott flew home with a stress-related condition.

Essex legend and England batting coach Graham Gooch has confirmed Joe Root and Ian Bell as the prime candidates to fill the number three spot.

And all-rounder Napier believes it is a great chance for whoever is promoted up the order to shine for England at the second Test, which starts at midnight.

“It’s one loss but it’s a big loss and it wasn’t an ideal start for England,” added Napier, who has been Cook’s team-mate at Essex for more than a decade.

“And it’s a huge loss to lose someone of the calibre of Jonathan Trott.

“It’s a sad situation and I wish him all the best. But it’s an opportunity now for someone to come in and take on an important role in the team.”

Tim Bresnan is in contention to come into the team for tonight’s second test.

The bowler proved his fitness playing for England’s Performance Programme last week after recovering from a stress fracture of the back.

Bresnan said: “I’m excited to be back amongst it. I’m available for selection.

“It’s been quite frustrating travelling with the guys and doing all the prep, but knowing I probably wasn't going to play any of the warm-up games. But I’m relishing the chance if I do get one at Adelaide.”


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