Cook’s epic builds huge lead
ENGLAND VS INDIA
Edgbaston, Aug 12: Alastair Cook continued his remorseless accumulation at Edgbaston and by tea had a triple century within his sights depending on how long England wanted to bat. Eoin Morgan also played his part with his second Test hundred in a fourth-wicket stand of 222, as the hosts moved into a lead of 422, although the gloomy conditions could well determine how much they get to bowl this evening.
The main obstacle to England’s progress was the weather rather than India’s bowling. There was a controversial decision shortly after lunch when the umpires took the players off for bad light because there was a power cut that prevented the floodlights coming on. Play was halted for 15 minutes before, officially, the light improved enough but it was another moment where cricket hadn’t done itself any favours. It wasn’t as though Cook or Morgan were having any problems against the India attack and no one appeared in danger.
Before lunch Cook had registered his double hundred from 378 balls and after the brief stoppage for light moved past his previous best of 235 at Brisbane in November. And the landmarks kept on coming. When he went to 247 it gave him the second-highest score by an England batsman against India, with only mentor Graham Gooch ahead of him with 333, and Cook’s 250 - which came from 485 balls - was the first such score for England since that 1990 epic by Gooch. By tea he was in the top 10 of all-time England scores. The addition of just two boundaries in the day may raise eyebrows, but the concentration and relentlessness had to be admired.
In a similar manner to how England began yesterday, there was nothing flamboyant about their strokeplay as the batsmen set a platform for acceleration later in the day although by tea there hadn’t been many outward signs of added aggression. With defensive fields and some negative lines from the bowlers boundaries didn’t flow - 11 in the first two sessions - and the batsmen were largely content to work the gaps and wear down the bowlers.
With a deep-set field more akin to the middle overs of a one-day game it was a perfect situation for Morgan to help himself to a Test hundred. He had to be watchful against Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma, the former approaching the 40-over mark for the innings, but was given plenty of spin to milk around.
His century arrived from 188 balls and he was soon using his feet to loft Suresh Raina down the ground. If he’d stayed in the middle England’s rate would have increased, but attempting an inside-out drive he picked out Virender Sehwag at cover - fortunately, given the standard of India’s fielding, he didn’t have to move far to hold on.
It meant Ravi Bopara, on his return to Test cricket, came in at a score of 596 for 4 with little to gain and, almost inevitably having watched the 69-over stand that preceded him, he didn’t manage a long stay. He opened his account with a back-cut to third man but was trapped lbw by Amit Mishra when a delivery straightened and would have hit middle. It was due recognition for Mishra who had bowled with more verve and found considerable turn, although that won’t have gone unnoticed by Graeme Swann.
Mishra claimed his third success when Matt Prior top-edged a sweep that was well caught by Sachin Tendulkar who made good ground running from deep square leg. Wickets, though, were irrelevant and it’s just a matter of waiting until England begin bowling again.
SCORE AT TEA:
ENGLAND: 646 for 6 (Cook 266*, Bresnan 19*)
INDIA: 224 by 422 runs
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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