Cook will 'never quit'

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Alastair Cook will not stand down as England captain Alastair Cook will not stand down as England captain

Alastair Cook insists he will "never quit" as England captain.

Cook's team slipped to defeat by the cruellest of narrow margins against Sri Lanka on Tuesday at Headingley, where James Anderson was reduced to tears after his last-ditch dismissal.

England's number 11 needed only keep the tourists at bay for two more balls to convert his resistance and Moeen Ali's unbeaten maiden Test century into a stalemate which would have drawn the Investec series.

Instead, Anderson fell to the penultimate delivery in Shaminda Eranga's final over - leaving Cook to reflect on a 100-run defeat, and 1-0 losing margin in the series which will do nothing to ease the pressure on his captaincy.

Moeen (108no) batted throughout the final day and Anderson remarkably kept him company for 20 overs - blocking 54 balls - before Eranga bounced him out to leave England 249 all out.

England were therefore unable to repeat the escape act the tourists managed at Lord's last week, when they hung on for a draw with nine wickets down.

Sri Lanka can celebrate a first Test series success in this country - while for Cook, there is limited consolation in Moeen and Anderson's sterling efforts.

England's new era could ill-afford an opening series defeat after last winter's Ashes whitewash.

Cook likewise knows that the outcome in Leeds, where he twice failed with the bat to extend his run without a century to 24 Test innings, will simply give his critics more ammunition.

He said nonetheless: "I've never quit on anything I've done.

"I've given it my all, all the time. Every 104 games I've played for England, I've left everything out there

"It's the same situation here. Until that moment somebody tells me they don't want me to be captain, I'll still be here."

Former England captain Geoff Boycott remarked, before a final day which the hosts began on 57 for five, that Cook's form is a "recipe for resignation".

But Cook added: "I'm incredibly proud to be England captain.

"I've been selected to do it.

"If someone decides I'm not the right person for the job, and the results don't justify me doing it, then fine.

"Until that moment, I'm desperate to try to turn English cricket around."

There was good reason for him to take pride too in his team-mates' rearguard efforts, although he admitted England had squandered earlier opportunities.

"It was an incredible effort today - Mo's hundred, for a free-flowing batsman to be so controlled, measured and calm under that pressure - can only bode well for the future," said Cook.

"That was a great way to really announce yourself in the international game."

Anderson's reaction is one Cook believes should speak volumes to some who believe they know more than they do about England's cricketers.

"Jimmy, right at the end, I think that just shows to everybody who doesn't really know us as blokes what it means to play for England," he said.

"You sometimes get accused of not caring that much, especially when things don't go that well.

"But that was the raw emotion to a guy who has put everything into 83 minutes of batting... if it was 84, we'd be sitting here with a smile on our faces (instead)."

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