Alastair Cook's 25th test century propels England to huge lead over New Zealand


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The Independent Online

England captain Alastair Cook completed his 25th test century before tamely falling for 130 as the hosts continued to bat New Zealand out of the second and final test with a lead of over 400 on Monday.

Cook, who declined to make New Zealand follow-on on Sunday after they were dismissed for 174, was again untroubled until he danced down the wicket and miscued spinner Kane Williamson to Tim Southee at mid-off.

Williamson then took his third wicket of the innings when Ian Bell, looking to push the scoring along, top-edged a slog-sweep.

At lunch on the fourth day at Headingley, England were 249 for three, a lead of 429, and set to secure a series victory after winning the first test at Lord's by 170 runs.

Jonathan Trott was unbeaten on 76 after sharing a second-wicket stand of 134 with Cook.

In contrast to his stubborn and defensive occupation of the crease on Sunday, Trott was in a more attacking mood and produced some deft flicks on both sides of the wicket.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was forced into a policy of containment after his bowling attack, already depleted by the absence of a frontline spinner with Bruce Martin, suffered another setback with left-arm seamer Trent Boult unable to bowl on Monday.

Boult, who took five wickets in the first innings and swung the ball, suffered a right side strain on Sunday.