England flying high as Cook, Bell score tons | Pakistan Today

England flying high as Cook, Bell score tons

SYDNEY – A dominant Alastair Cook scored 189 and Ian Bell his first century against Australia as England took a commanding first innings lead of 208 at the close of play on the third day of the fifth Ashes test on Wednesday. England, who just need to draw the match to secure a first series win in Australia for 24 years having already retained the Ashes, were on 488-7 with Matt Prior (54) and Tim Bresnan (0) at the crease when bad light stopped play. Cook put on another dazzling display of concentration and not a few fine shots and was given a rousing standing ovation by the 40,000 crowd after taking his series tally to 766 runs.
Australia did not lack effort in the field but their bowlers asked too few questions of the batsmen on a deadening track and their hopes of squaring the series were fading away in the early evening gloom. Those hopes were still high at the start of the day when the tourists resumed on 167-3 and Peter Siddle quickly picked up the wicket of nightwatchman Jimmy Anderson for seven. At the other end, though, was the outstanding batsman of the series and Cook, who had started on 61, was soon accelerating towards his third century of the series. By the time he was caught low in the gully by Mike Hussey off Shane Watson just after tea, England had overhauled Australia’s first innings tally of 280 and were 100 runs ahead with four wickets in hand. Bell picked up where Cook had let off and he finally scored his first test century in 31 innings against the Australians but there were boos mixed with cheers as he doffed his helmet.
The 29-year-old had been given out caught behind on 67 when the ball went between bat and pad but he stood his ground and was reprieved when the television review England demanded proved inconclusive. The cat calls came again when Bell departed for 115 shortly before the end of the day after being caught by Clarke off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson. “(It’s) the best knock that I’ve played in an England shirt against Australia, so a fantastic moment to eventually get a hundred against Australia, it’s great,” Bell said. Cook had few scares in his 488-minute innings and had stood his ground when he was on 99 and Australia’s Phillip Hughes claimed a catch at short leg.
The umpires checked the TV pictures and concluded that the ball had not carried to Hughes and Cook went on to claim his 16th test century with a single to midwicket shortly afterwards. Debutant spinner Michael Beer, who had lost two potential wickets to TV reviews, finally got his maiden test wicket when Paul Collingwood danced down the pitch but sent the ball looping into the hands of Ben Hilfenhaus at mid-on for 13.
Disbelieving Cook makes hay while sun shines: Even Alastair Cook is finding it hard to believe his prolific form in the Ashes series, which continued with another dominant innings to put England in control of the fifth and final test on Wednesday. His average for the series is 127.66, he has accumulated more than a thousand first class runs including the tour matches and has spent an astonishing 2,171 minutes, or more than 36 hours, at the crease in the tests. “You could only have dreamt about it six or seven weeks ago, especially after that warm-up game where I didn’t get any runs this looked a long way away,” the 26-year-old. “I can’t really believe what I’ve achieved and what the side have achieved. It’s been a good couple of months but we’ve got two days of hard work left.”

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