Cook ready for 'brilliant series' against Pakistan


Captain Alastair Cook believes England are ready to take on Pakistan after recording a 2-0 Test-series victory over Sri Lanka.

Rain at Lord's denied England the chance to make it three wins from three, but Cook was pleased with the development of his team.

Chris Woakes won praise after successfully filling in for injured all-rounder Ben Stokes and Cook also singled out opening partner Alex Hales, who passed 80 in all three Tests, albeit without completing a maiden Test hundred.

"Pakistan have a very good bowling attack but we are ready to play them," Cook said.

"We scored a lot of runs against a very good Australia attack last year and I think it is going to be a brilliant series. We are heading in the right direction as a side.

"Alex Hales has tightened up his game from South Africa and learned about Test cricket.

"It's great when you see someone who doesn't quite nail it, but goes away and works away at it, and comes back a person who understands more about Test cricket.

"Chris Woakes has really impressed me. He's different to Ben Stokes and while not as dynamic, he is certainly very effective, bowling with pace and accuracy. 

"He made some really big strides and that is great for our squad. We know how Ben balances the side, but [Woakes] can too."

Cook compared wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to former England gloveman Matt Prior, after two centuries earned the Yorkshireman the man-of-the-series prize.

"Jonny Bairstow winning the man-of-the-series was a brilliant achievement," Cook said. "He is very similar to Matt Prior at his best, the way he takes the attack to the opposition.

"His first century in South Africa got the monkey off his back - that was very clear to see - and it's great to see someone who works so hard get his rewards."