ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook believes Worcestershire star Moeen Ali has all the right credentials for a long and successful Test career.
The New Road all-rounder announced himself on the international stage with a superb maiden Test century on the final day of the second Investec Test with Sri Lanka at Headingley.
However, Moeen’s brilliant unbeaten 108 ultimately proved in vain as last man James Anderson was dismissed by the penultimate ball of the game as Sri Lanka won a Test series in this country for the first time.
“Moeen played an outstanding innings,” said Cook. “For a guy in his second Test to play like that and get a hundred bodes incredibly well for the future.
“We knew his class. You never know how a guy is going to adapt to international cricket but the way he handled himself in the last two games, having the confidence at Lord’s to hit almost his first ball over the top, that kind of stuff, shows what he is about.”
Cook added: “He is a brave cricketer and the way he constructed that innings, the way he worked in the partnerships, you couldn’t fault it and he didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.”
Moeen, who batted for the entire final day, admitted he would rather have missed out on his hundred in favour of saving the match.
He added: “A hundred to save the game would have been fantastic, but it doesn’t mean so much with the guys being so disappointed.
“I was up for it but, unfortunately, we just couldn’t make it as a team. I’d much rather have got 99 and saved the game.
“Jimmy played fantastically and it was a brilliant ball at the end to dismiss him, right on the money.
“It was just one of those things. I am gutted for him and the lads.”
England head coach and former Worcestershire wicketkeeper Peter Moores said: “That is as good a Test knock as you will see given the situation – how calm he was, how he tried to shepherd and talk to the lower order when they came in.
“He just looked every bit as if he had been there for a long time. In his second Test, it was a great effort.”
Moeen was determined to make up for a loose shot which led to his dismissal for just two in the first innings.
He said: “I was really disappointed with the way I got out in the first innings and I just wanted to bat as long as I could.
“I wasn’t keeping an eye on the scoreboard until I got to 96. There were a couple of loose shots, but I tried to rein it in and just let it happen.”