Monday, June 17, 2024

Cook’s third consecutive ton puts visitors in charge


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Kolkata: Skipper Alastair Cook created history by cracking his 23rd Test century, the most by an Englishman and his third in the series, as England took complete control of the third Test against a listless India here on Thursday.

Cook remained unbeaten on a brilliant 136 to lay the platform for a mammoth first innings total as the visitors cruised to a comfortable 216 for one at close on the second day.

In reply to India’s first innings score of 316, England put up a solid batting display and rode on a 165-run opening stand between Cook and Nick Compton (57) as India’s bowlers had a disappointing day.

England need another 101 runs with nine wickets in hand to take the first innings lead and consolidate their position from there on.

Having scored his 23rd Test ton, Cook also created a world record of notching five centuries from the five Test matches as captain.

The England captain led from the front as he struck a six and 19 fours in his nearly five-hour long undefeated stay at the crease and became the youngest batsman to go past 7,000 Test runs at the age of 27 years 347 days, eclipsing Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 28 years and 193 days.

In his sparkling innings, Cook gave a solitary chance while on 17, when he was dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara of the bowling of Zaheer Khan – a miss that eventually proved costly for India.

Earlier resuming the day at 273 for seven, skipper MS Dhoni scored a half-century before the hosts were bowled out inside the first hour of the day. Dhoni scored 52 off 114 balls with five fours and two huge sixes and was the last man out when he tried to fend a short-pitched delivery from Steven Finn.

The Indian bowling proved to be pedestrian with Ishant Sharma providing a lot of loose deliveries.

Even Ravichandran Ashwin, looked woefully out of form while Pragyan Ojha also toiled with just one wicket to show for his efforts. (PTI)


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