Cook confident in Compton
Alastair Cook is confident his new opening partner Nick Compton is just one breakthrough innings away from proving himself an ideal replacement for Andrew Strauss.
Compton was pressed into service in alien conditions in India before Christmas, and acquitted himself well in a historic series victory - despite just one half-century in eight attempts. The 29-year-old's top score was 57 in Kolkata - but he figured in stands of 123, 66, an unbroken 58 and 165 with his captain.
Cook is hoping for significant consolidation in the three-Test series starting against New Zealand in Dunedin. "I'd just love to see him get in and get that one big score which will get him up and running," he said. "He's definitely got the class to do that at international level."
Cook is satisfied already that he and Compton have established an important understanding together.
"I think we did ... we got off to some really good starts in India," he added, "Clearly he's a very different character to Straussy. He's an intense guy, but that's worked very well for him. I think that single-mindedness that he's got means when he gets in, he's very hard to get out."
Cook sees few similarities - over and above the obvious that Strauss was left-handed and Compton right - between his two fellow openers.
"Straussy and I played a lot of cricket together. We're quite similar in character," Cook said. "I think 'Compo' and I are probably quite different in character, but that probably doesn't really matter too much.
"One of the good advantages of having 'Compo' there is the left-hand and right-hand combination. If you can have that, it makes a big difference - because obviously the bowlers have got to change their lines."
Compton did enough in India to convince Cook he has what it takes. He said: "One of his great strengths, when he plays for Somerset, and the reason he forced his way into this England side was that when he got in he went big. It was slightly unusual that didn't happen.
"But I've got no concerns about that, because that's why he got picked. He's got the ability to get in and score big hundreds. There will be no one trying any more desperately to do that than Nick, and I think he's got every attribute to do well."