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Alastair Cook celebrates reaching his century against India on the second day of the third Test at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, yesterday. It was Cook’s 23rd Test century - the most for England.
KOLKATA: Riding on a brilliant ton by skipper Alastair Cook, England put themselves in a commanding position on the second day of the crucial third cricket Test match against India at the Eden Gardens here yesterday.
After restricting India for 316, England raced to 216/1 at stumps only 100 runs behind the hosts.
Cook (136 not out) and Jonathan Trott (21 not out) were at the crease.
The England captain continued his dominance over the Indian bowlers and posted his third century of the series and partnered a stoutly defending Nick Compton (57) to take England in a resounding position.
Cook’s magical innings saw him reaching several batting milestones. On 88, the 27-year-old southpaw became the youngest ever batsman to reach 7,000 Test runs.
The previous record was held by Sachin Tendulkar who reached the milestone at 28.
He swept offie Ravichandran Ashwin for three in the 52nd over to reach the magical three-figure mark and in the process surpassed England greats Wally Hammond, Geoffrey Boycott and Colin Cowdry to become the first England batsman to score 23 Test centuries.
India’s only success came in the 53rd over when trying to sweep Prgayan Ojha, Compton, who scored his maiden Test fifty, was adjudged leg before.
There was also some excitement after umpire Rod Tucker initially shook his head in the negative before raising his finger. Cook and Compton stitched together a first wicket partnership of 165 in 53 overs.
Trott then joined Cook in the middle and the duo took England past 200.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni kept juggling his bowlers but the English batsmen defended firmly and punished the loose balls. All the Indian bowlers including Ojha looked mediocre and failed to trouble or contain the visitors.
English pace spearhead James Anderson in the first innings consistently posed problems for the Indian batsmen with his reverse swing but the home team’s fast bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma failed to impress.
In what seems to be a rerun of the Mumbai Test where India were handed a humiliating defeat, England, who began their innings cautiously, gradually consolidated their position grinding runs as the host bowlers looked nowhere near threatening.
With the pitch playing true, the Indian attack struggled to make inroads. The only chance that came India’s way was in the 20th over but Cheteswar Pujara at first slip could not hold on to the ball edged by Cook off Khan.
Cook, who has so far amassed over 400 runs in the series, was then at 17 with the England score being just 27.
While the rest of the bowlers failed to put any impression, Dhoni held back Ojha, by far the best Indian bowler in the series, till the 26th over.
Ojha has taken 14 wickets in the last two tests of the series.
Cook and Compton attacked the Indian spinners, with both hitting a six each, not allowing them to settle down.
The pair brought England’s 100 in the 36th over with Cook scoring the lion’s share of the runs.