Friday, August 12, 2011
England Is Having Control Over India
Alastair Cook's 19th Test hundred propelled England into a first innings lead against India on the second day of the third Test at Edgbaston here on Thursday.
England were 319 for two, a lead of 95 runs at tea.
Left-handed opener Cook was 129 not out and Kevin Pietersen 36 not out as England pursued a win that would give them both an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the four-Test series and see them replace India at the top of the ICC's Test Championship table.
Only five players Walter Hammond (22), Colin Cowdrey (22), Geoff Boycott (22), Ken Barrington (20) and Cook's mentor Graham Gooch (20) have now made more Test centuries for England than the 26-year-old Essex opener, currently playing in his 71st match at this level.
Cook's latest Test hundred also saw him equal the records of both England great Len Hutton and current captain Andrew Strauss.
Together with fellow left-hander Strauss, Cook shared a first-wicket stand of 186 before the skipper fell for 87 to leg-spinner Amit Mishra.
Ian Bell, fresh from his excellent hundred in England's 319-run second Test win at Trent Bridge, delighted his Warwickshire home crowd with several well-timed boundaries.
But, having been given a reprieve on 30 when Rahul Dravid dropped an easy slip catch, Bell was out for 34 when persevering medium-pacer Praveen Kumar, one of India's few success stories on an injury-marred tour, knocked back his off-stump.
But the runs kept coming, with Pietersen advancing to drive Mishra for six as England's third-wicket duo added 67 unbroken runs in just 72 balls.
India took the new ball as soon as they could, with England 301 for two off 80 overs.
But the very next delivery saw Pietersen late cut Ishant Sharma for four.
England were 157 without loss in reply to India's first innings 224, a deficit of 67 runs, at lunch with Strauss 84 not out and Cook 51 not out.
But there was no 20th Test century for Strauss when he deflected an intended sweep onto his own stumps.
Replays showed Mishra, called for eight no-balls so far -- inexcusable for a bowler of his pace by umpire Simon Taufel, had overstepped but the respected Australian could hardly be blamed for missing that particular infringement.
Strauss, who faced 186 balls, struck 13 fours in what was his best Test score since he made 110 against Australia at Brisbane in November during the opening match of England's victorious Ashes campaign.
England, after a near-perfect first day, resumed on 84 without loss when play re-started 30 minutes late because of rain.
Strauss was 52 not out overnight and Cook 27 not out and neither man gave a chance before lunch.