Wicket has become very flat, says Umesh Yadav

Praising Cook, the former England skipper recalled the left-handed opener's century on debut at Nagpur in 2006 and said he showed on that occasion itself that he was a special talent who knew exactly how to bat on Indian pitches.

"I watched him in Nagpur when he made his debut and in that match itself he showed he knew what he should do and not do on these wickets. Today he played a major innings for England under tremendous pressure. It was very skillful.

"He (Cook) is one of the best players in the world. He cuts, sweeps, plays straight and also defends well. He crafted the innings, he was not flamboyant. It was an incredible effort," said Gooch about Cook's back-to-the-wall knock that has given England an outside chance of saving the game.

He also hailed the unbeaten half century of Prior and his unbroken century partnership with the England captain that pulled the team out of deep trouble when they were 199 for five and put them ten runs ahead at stumps on the penultimate day of the game.

"I think it was as good as innings I have seen him play because England was under great pressure after a poor first innings performance. If you get bowled out for less than 200 in a five day game you are up against it because there is so much time left in the game," Gooch said.

"What he proved was that there is no demon in this pitch, a pitch that we would have expected in this part of the world...flattish wicket and little bit of turn, very slow turn.

"Any batsman is vulnerable when he first comes in anywhere in the world. But once you get in a little bit, it becomes a little bit easier and you to trust your skills and trust all the training you have done and Alastair and Prior proved that," he added.

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