Ind vs Eng 3rd Day 3: Cook 294 helps Eng 710-7, Ind 35-1 at Stumps

Tags: India tour of England - 2011, India v England 3rd Test at Birmingham - Aug 10-14, 2011, England, India, Alastair Nathan Cook, Ind vs Eng 3rd Test Day 3

Published on: Aug 13, 2011

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Cook got a double hundred and the other a King Pair, England firmed their grip on day three of the third Test on Friday, with India still trailing by 451 runs.

On a day of contrasting fortunes, where one opener got a double hundred and the other a King Pair, England firmed their grip on day three of the third Test on Friday, with India still trailing by 451 runs.

Alastair Cook's 294 helped his team reach 710/7, while a consecutive first-ball duck for VirenderSehwag left India with a question whether a fully-fit replacement is better than a half-fit Sehwag.

Cook was well supported by Eoin Morgan (104) and Tim Bresnan (53 not out) on Friday, as they extended India's toil on the field to over two days. For India, AmitMishra was the top wicket-taker with three wickets, with two to Praveen Kumar and one each to Ishant Sharma and Suresh Raina.

At the end of play, India were 35/1, still trailing England by 451 runs, with GautamGambhir (14) and RahulDravid (18) preventing any further damage by James Anderson, who dismissed Sehwag.

In the morning, rain first stopped play after just three overs into the third day's play. But like on day two, it was just a passing shower as the players made their way back to the ground after a 20-minute delay.

On resumption, Cook's moment of joy arrived soon when a flick off his legs for a couple brought up the England run-machine's 19th Test century, which is also his fourth this year.

Cook reached the milestone in 378 balls, including 27 hits to the boundary. En route, the opener also took his partnership with Eoin Morgan past the 100-run mark.

But the second rain delay inside the first session forced an early lunch, with England's score of 503/3 giving them a lead of 279 runs.

England resumed their business of scoring runs after lunch as Cook and Morgan stretched the lead past 300, with Morgan inching closer to his century. But bad light forced the players to walk back into the dressing room for the third time on Friday as a power outage prevented the floodlights from coming.

But just like Cook, Morgan too resumed play after the third weather delay with a personal milestone: his second Test century, which followed the 200-run partnership for the England pair.

It was Morgan's second Test century and came off 188 balls with 10 fours. But just when Morgan (104) looked like putting the foot on the accelerator with a four over part-timer Raina's head, an uppish drive was grabbed by Sehwag in the covers to give Raina a wicket against the run of play.

The first wicket for India on Day 3, which also ended the 222-run Morgan-Cook partnership for the fourth wicket, led to two more in quick succession.

While England were looking to press on, AmitMishra bought some cheap wickets when he trapped Ravi Bopara (7) in front and induced a top-edge off Matt Prior's (5) sweep that was taken by SachinTendulkar. Meanwhile, the England score went past 600.

The ball was spinning viciously for Raina and Mishra by now, which further emphasised how important it was for India to score big in their first innings.

Trent Bridge hero Tim Bresnan joined Cook, who was batting on 250-plus, on Prior's dismissal; and when an outside edge from Bresnan's bat ran down to the third-man boundary, England lead went past 400.

Tea was around the corner and the tired Indian legs showed some fight in the second session of the day by taking three wickets, but the 143 runs they conceded saw England score swell to 646/6, giving them a lead of 422 at the stroke of Tea.

The biggest anticipation in the post-Tea session was whether Cook will get to his maiden triple century and will England declare on Friday. And with Cook just 34 runs away and more than two days' play left, Strauss was in no hurry to call his boys back.

Bresnan once again showed his value with the bat in another fluent innings as tired Indian bowlers couldn't make use of the third new ball which Dhoni availed right away.

However, light once again deteriorated, forcing the umpires to halt play for the fourth time, with England 683/6 and Cook just 16 runs away from the triple.

At resumption, lightning struck, not for India this time, but for the hosts when Cook picked the swiftest Indian fielder Raina in the deep, who made no mistake to bring an end to a remarkable knock for 294. With that, Strauss chose to declare the innings.

With 486 runs behind, eyes were once again on Sehwag, who was on a King's pair, having been dismissed off the first ball in the first innings. But Sehwag refused to curb his natural instinct, went for a flashy drive and edged one straight to Strauss in slips. The man who has two triple centuries to his name was now part of a 13-man list of King-Pair scorers.

And once again, it brought RahulDravid to the crease in the first over of the innings - the third such instance so far in this Test series. He proved to be the calming influence on Gambhir and together with the southpaw, took India to stumps without any further damage.

India are already trailing the series 0-2 and a defeat here will see England take the number one position in the Test rankings.

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