Cook says Australia could crack under pressure after Englands Ashes fightback

Former England captain Alastair Cook believes Australia could 'crack under pressure' in the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane as Joe Root's men finally put up a show of resistance.

After bowling England out for 147, Australia put 425 runs on the board to put the hosts in complete control already before England came out for their second innings.

But Root and Dawid Malan’s heroics with the bat carried England to 220-2 – just 58 runs shy of Australia – at the end of day three, with skipper Root surpassing Michael Vaughan's record of 1,481 for the most Test runs by an England batter in a calendar year.

Cook, who led England to a pair of home Ashes victories during his tenure as captain, believes Australia could falter under the weight of expectations from the home crowd.

"We know that this Australia side have cracked under pressure – we saw that against India last year and at Headingley in 2019," the 36-year-old said.

"This side are getting closer to finding out how they cope under pressure under the new captaincy of Pat Cummins."

The performance came after Cook had called for Root and England to attack Australia when their backs were against the ropes.

"Joe Root talks about England having character, they are going to have to show it now," Cook told BT Sport. "They will have to come out swinging.

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"They have got history of fighting back against Australia. The coaches have to earn their money now, saying the right things at the right times, making sure it isn’t doom and gloom.

"They have to go around tonight making sure that the likes of Rory Burns can regroup and come back and bat in the second innings."

After Root controversially opted to bat first, Pat Cummins took 5-38 before rain stopped play in Brisbane with England all out for 147.

The 28-year-old starred as he put Australia in a commanding position with the ball before they put their foot on the gas with the batt too.

But England have fought back and will be desperate to maintain their momentum heading into day four at The Gabba.

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