Cook scores ton, England continue to dominate (Tea report)

August 11th, 2011 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Birmingham, Aug 11 (IANS) Alastair Cook scored a century as England continue to dominate India, reaching 319 for two at tea on the second day of the third cricket Test at Edgbaston here Thursday.

At the break, Cook (129) and Kevin Pietersen (36) were at the crease with England 95 runs ahead of India, who were bowled out for 224 in the first innings.

Captain Andrew Strauss (87) and Ian Bell (34) were the two wickets to fall in the session. England, who were 157/0 at lunch, added 162 runs in the second session in 35 overs at a brisk pace of 4.2 per over.

Strauss, who batted solidly, was unlucky to miss his century. He was bowled while sweeping Amit Mishra. Replays later showed that the leg spinner had overstepped but was not called by the umpire.

The wicket, however, came a big relief to the Indians as Strauss and Cook added 186 runs for the opening stand to push the visitors on the backfoot. Strauss hit 13 fours in his 176-ball innings.

Bell got a reprieve when he was on 30 when Rahul Dravid dropped an easy catch in the slips off S.Sreesanth.

He, however, did not hang in for long and Praveen Kumar, who had bowled beautifully in the morning, got rewards as he produced a stunning leg cutter that sent the off stump cart-wheeling.

Left-handed Cook, who went through a brief dry spell, batted himself to form. It was his 19th Test century and sixth since the Ashes.

He had looked uncomfortable at the start of the innings, but played patiently and applied himself to grind it out in the middle.

Earlier, the Indian bowlers had failed to separate the England openers in the morning session and at lunch, when the hosts were just 67 runs behind India’s total.

Strauss and Cook continued from where they left Wednesday evening to put England, who lead the four-match series 2-0, firmly on course for a big total.

The day started half an hour late because of a morning drizzle. India took the field under partly overcast sky and conditions looked good for the seamers to take advantage.

Strauss and Cook, who had patiently guided England to 84 for no loss in 25 overs Wednesday, began with an intent to occupy the crease and see off the initial overs.

Praveen was the pick of the Indian attack and bowled a probing line. The slow nature of the pitch did not help as the edges fell halfway down the slip cordon.

It was difficult for the Indian pacers, who in any case lack that extra pace to push the batsmen on the backfoot.

The two England openers played with soft hands and adjusted well to the seaming ball.

The first boundary, however, came only in the 15th over of the morning. The two openers slowly gained in confidence and freed their arms.

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