Sublime Cook leads England domination

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The Independent Online

England are dominating the Second Test match against Australia. For the second successive day they made all the running, imposed all the authority. They are by no means home and dry yet, but the least – the very least – they can expect now is to go to Perth in a fortnight at 0-0.

The second day of the match belonged, as did the fourth and fifth days of the First Test, to Alastair Cook. He made his second consecutive century to follow the 235no he scored in the second innings in Brisbane last week (not to mention his 67 in the first).

It was sublime stuff, the further unveiling of a Cook hitherto unseen in Test cricket, where front foot drives and hits down the ground feature as often as cuts and crisp pulls off the legs. The latter, trademark Cook accomplices were there too, but this was all round the wicket batting.

His hundred took 268 minutes, came from 171 balls and included 15 fours. By the end of the second day Cook had been on the field for all but 70 minutes of the series so far, the latter half of England’s first innings in the first Test when he was the fifth man out. He was 136no and his tally of runs is 438 for the series so far, only 50 fewer than he had made in the ten matches comprising his previous two Ashes series.

The day started badly for England when Andrew Strauss, their captain, was bowled by the third ball of the day from Doug Bollinger. But then Cook and Jonathan Trott merely started where they left it in Brisbane where their second wicket stand of 329 was unbroken. They added another 173 before Trott, who was dropped twice and might have been run out before he had reached double figures, clipped a slower ball from Ryan Harris to mid-wicket.

Cook was then joined by Kevin Pietersen who batted like the last thing he enjoyed was being the forgotten man of this England batting order, scoring 85no from 141 balls. Their third wicket partnership was worth 131.

Australia stuck at their task but found scarcely help from the pitch and could give precious little themselves. England were 317 for two at the close, a lead of 72.