Cook leads England with dominant century

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The Independent Online

Alastair Cook celebrated his first day as England's Test captain with a masterful unbeaten 158 but Kevin Pietersen was out for 99 as the tourists took complete command on day one of the first Test.

Cook's 11th Test hundred was an epic knock of style and composure and saw him convincingly outstrip Andrew Strauss' mark of 128, the previous best by an England captain in their maiden outing.



Cook's innings, which formed part of a 170-run stand with Pietersen, helped his side coast to stumps at 374 for three.



Pietersen will have been pleased to have ended a dismal run of form on tour but was no doubt frustrated to fall one short of a ton and again to slow left-armer.



Home captain Shakib Al Hasan, meanwhile, was left to rue a poor decision to field first having won the toss.



Michael Carberry, one of two England debutants alongside Steven Finn, started his international career in a flurry of boundaries but could not last the distance.

The Hampshire opener dispatched Rubel Hossain for three fours in the fourth over, with two more off the outside edge soon after.



Shakib swiftly turned to his own left-arm spin to stem the flow but was hoisted by Cook high over midwicket for six in only his second over.



Naeem Islam beat the captain when he attempted to repeat the shot but, that aside, England progressed serenely, with successive Cook fours off Rubel bringing up the fifty.



Mahmudullah found a testing line early on and snared Carberry (30) lbw moments after Mushfiqur Rahim had spilled a regulation catch to reprieve him.



By then Cook had already taken control of the 72-run opening stand and continued to lead the way after Jonathan Trott's arrival.



The Tigers grew in confidence after the breakthrough and Trott soon had four men in close catching positions against Shakib, though he played conservatively to see his way to lunch.



The number three was in more attacking form after the break, punching Shahadat Hossain to the ropes at third man in his first over back and then crunching him through the covers for four more.



Cook, who passed fifty just before lunch, was looking nerveless at the other end and he too milked Shahadat, pulling a short one to long leg before drilling him through extra-cover when he overpitched.



Umpire Tony Hill, presumably sensing an edge, judged Trott caught behind for 39 after a Rubel bouncer that seemed to come straight off the batsman's helmet.



The disgruntled look on Trott's face as the decision was given also supported that view.



The wicket brought the under-pressure Pietersen to the middle, with Razzak ready to probe a perceived weakness against left-arm spin.



Pietersen started positively, though, hammering Razzak past mid-off to bring up the England 150.



Pietersen and Cook continued to keep the scoreboard ticking with regular boundaries and an airy sweep by the former brought up the 200.



Cook, though, was not to be outdone and heaved Mahmudullah for a second maximum over mid-wicket to bring up his 11th Test century in style.



Remarkably Cook had only ever hit two Test sixes before today's game.



The rotating cast of spinners looked short of responses as the runs continued to come, Pietersen hitting down the ground to bring up a 61-ball fifty.



Shakib continued to mix and match his bowlers but with Cook seemingly immovable and Pietersen fast shedding the vulnerable look he had acquired since touching down in the country, the omens were not good.



Pietersen began to drive powerfully down the ground as he grew in confidence, with one such shot hurtling for four before Rubel had finished his follow through.



Cook passed Strauss' mark of 128 with a perfectly-timed drive but there was some relief for the hosts when Razzak found a way through Pietersen's defences with just a single needed for his century.



Cook was going nowhere, though, and was celebrating another landmark when his consistent ability to work the ball on both sides of the wicket saw him past 150.



Paul Collingwood was fifth man in and immediately set about the home bowlers to the tune of 32no in 40 balls.



Cook reached the close having faced 244 balls over three sessions, with 14 fours and two sixes to his name.



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