Cook backs Lyth to find Ashes form

Alastair Cook is confident that underperforming opening partner Adam Lyth will end his form slump in the fourth Ashes Test that starts on Thursday.

Lyth has looked a walking wicket at Cardiff, Lord’s and Edgbaston – scoring 72 runs at an average of 12 for England.

Kevin Pietersen has been among many pundits questioning his place in the XI.

“Adam Lyth is finding out the difference between Test cricket and county cricket,” Pietersen said.

“It’s a huge step up.

“It looks like he could get out on every single ball.”

Selectors have maintained faith in Lyth and Cook is backing the 27-year-old to deliver at Trent Bridge.

“He hasn’t scored the runs he would have liked,” Cook said.

“But I thought in that last game he looked a lot more solid and he looked like his method had been sorted out.

“He didn’t quite get the runs, but I do believe there is a big score around the corner.”

Cook, who earlier this year ended a slump in which he failed to post a Test century in 35 innings, had limited advice for Lyth.

“Just to focus on what he’s good at. You get distracted very quickly,” he said.

“Try to ignore the external stuff and focus on what got him here in the first place.

“He’s a fighter, an absolute fighter.”

Former England captain Nasser Hussain opined in his Daily Mail column that Lyth deserved to play in Nottingham this week.

However, Hussain noted another failure could spell the end of Lyth’s career.

“Lyth cannot afford a fourth successive match of low scores,” he wrote.

“Four games are enough for the selectors to get a sense of whether a guy is learning from his mistakes.”

Meanwhile, Cook revealed injured paceman Jimmy Anderson was using oxygen therapy in an effort to overcome the side strain he suffered during the third Test.

Mark Wood will play in place of Anderson at Trent Bridge, but England’s all-time leading wicket-taker hasn’t given up hope of playing the fifth Test that starts on August 20.

“He’s been working with the physios, going in oxygen tanks and all that kind of stuff,” Cook said.

“He’s doing everything he can.”

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