Pakistan v England: Alastair Cook remains positive despite late wickets

Cook upbeat despite Pakistan dominance

Alastair Cook believes England are in a strong position to push for victory in the second Test again Pakistan.

Cook and Jonathan Trott shared a stand of 139 before England lost three late wickets for just nine runs to finish the second day in Abu Dhabi on 207-5.

England are 50 runs behind with five wickets in hand and Cook thinks they can build a first-innings advantage.

"We had a good day but the shine was probably taken off it a little bit with those last couple of wickets," he said.

"We're only 50 behind and we've got a couple of excellent players with [Ian] Bell and Matty [Prior] in at the moment, and then obviously our lower order, which played well in Dubai.

"If we can get past that [first] half an hour and then look to build a lead... But if you look too far ahead then you can get stuck."

Pakistan lost their last three wickets for one run in 16 balls as they were bowled out for 257 in the morning.

Cook and Trott helped England to 166 for one in reply, but Saeed Ajmal followed up Abdur Rehman's dismissal of Trott for 74 by removing Cook (94), Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan, the latter with what proved to be the last ball of the day.

Cook added: "Credit to the way Pakistan bowled in that last half-hour, and made it extremely tough.

"These guys are used to playing in these conditions and sniff an opportunity like they did to get a couple of wickets.

"They did bowl very well and it's very difficult to go in there. Unfortunately, losing Eoin in the last over of the day was a shame."

Cook fell narrowly short of a 20th Test century, which would have put him joint fourth on England's all-time list with England batting coach Graham Gooch and Ken Barrington.

"It's always frustrating when you've worked so hard for a milestone, to fall just short of it," said the 27-year-old.

"It's disappointing when you don't get it, because you know it took five hours to get there. But it beats last week, when I got three and five."