Record breaking England salvage first Test

England's batsmen helped ensure a draw in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane today.

Alastair Cook struck an unbeaten 235 and Jonathan Trott added 135 not out to help England reach 517 for one in their second innings, setting the hosts a nominal target of 297.

Australia reached 107 for one when the captains shook hands on a high-scoring draw.

Cook's score was a career-best innings, while Trott was exactly 100 runs behind him when Andrew Strauss decided it was time for a bowl again.

Cook, who yesterday contributed to England's ground-record opening stand with his captain, ploughed mercilessly on to the highest individual score at this venue as he and Trott made a mockery of the perilous starting position of the tourists' second innings.

By tea, Australia had lost Simon Katich, fencing a catch to Strauss at slip off Stuart Broad, but there were no further losses on the way to the early close as home captain Ricky Ponting reached an unbeaten 51 at a run a ball.

This is only the second time in England's history the top three batsmen have reached three figures in the same innings, the previous instance courtesy of Jack Hobbs, Herbert Sutcliffe and Wally Hammond in 1924.

It is a unique Ashes achievement for a team who had set out late on the third day needing 221 runs just to make their hosts bat again and, according to many experts, with scant chance of escaping Brisbane at 0-0.

Cook and Trott began a sunny morning with a partnership of 121 already under their belts - and then piled on another 208 in just 51 overs.

Australia were in the field for more than four sessions, and long before the end of their torment were looking incapable of helping themselves.

That was certainly the impression when Michael Clarke, who had dropped barely a half-chance yesterday when Trott was 34, put down a much easier one at slip after the same batsman glided a cut much too fine off Shane Watson on 75.

An over later, Mitchell Johnson - operating at no runs, no wickets and one dropped catch so far in this series - hurled a wide so far down the leg-side it could be interpreted as symptomatic of a dispirited team.

Two sets of consecutive leg-byes, when Xavier Doherty's turn defeated Cook and Brad Haddin, brought up England's 400.

They were not necessarily the wicketkeeper's fault but came as another blow to home morale, in front of a small crowd dominated by English cheers.

Cook and Trott's smattering of boundaries in the first hour were largely from controlled edges rather than the middle of either bat.

Yet a wicket seemed unthinkable at times on a pitch which - despite ever widening cracks - was apparently better than ever for batting.

Watson switched to the Vulture Street end, only to concede the cover-driven boundary - through the errant Marcus North's hands - which took Cook, on his way to a maiden double-century, past his previous Test best of 173.

Before the morning was out, he had become only the fourth Englishman to make a double-century down under - and when Strauss finally called him and Trott in, the left-hander had hit 27 fours from 428 balls and had batted for almost 10 and a half hours.

Trott's second hundred against these opponents in only his second Ashes Test hardly deserved to be relegated to a footnote. He finished with 19 fours from 266 balls.

England's Ashes Records

England have had a record-breaking first Test at the Gabba.

:: Alastair Cook's 235 not out in the second innings was the highest score at the Gabba, beating Don Bradman's 226 for Australia v South Africa in 1931.

:: The unbeaten second-wicket stand of 329 between Cook and Jonathan Trott broke two records.

The previous highest second-wicket stand at the Gabba was 272 by Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting for Australia against England in the 2002-03 Ashes.

The previous highest stand for any wicket at the Gabba was between Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin who scored 307 in Australia's first innings of this match.

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