Cook and Trott put England in commanding position
CRICKET:Alastair Cook fell short of his third double-century as England nonetheless ground their way to a match-controlling lead over India on day three of the third Test at Eden Gardens.
Cook (190) laid the painstaking foundation in a stand of 173 with Jonathan Trott (87) for England to try to push for victory and establish a 2-1 series lead over the final two days. But after he was run out in bizarre circumstances, Kevin Pietersen fell for 54 before he could provide acceleration. It therefore fell to others to chip England towards a stumps total of 509 for six in reply to 316 all out on a pitch just beginning to show signs of wear, with variable bounce and sharper turn offering second-innings promise.
The England captain’s eight-hour epic was finally ended not by a bowler but a fielder, when Virat Kohli arrowed in a direct-hit throw from midwicket to run him out backing up. The complication was that Cook appeared in position to ground his bat, only to raise it and allow the ball through. His own reaction told the tale, however, he was not forced into protective evasive action but merely guilty of a rare human error – a fact confirmed by third-umpire vindication. Cook’s 377-ball stay had still outlasted an equally unhurried Trott.
The second-wicket pair continued remorselessly yesterday morning, although Cook needed a piece of good fortune on 156 when Ishant Sharma put down a straightforward return catch. India applied the brakes either side of lunch but could not get a breakthrough as Trott moved past his 131-ball half-century, with a leg-glance off Zaheer Khan for his seventh four for the hundred stand.
In mid-afternoon Trott was undone by one that turned from Pragyan Ojha and edged behind. Pietersen’s arrival brought a familiar change in the bowling, Mahendra Singh Dhoni summoning Yuvraj Singh to try his luck. Save for an early mistimed cut into the ground and just past off-stump, Pietersen was unfazed.
Instead, it was Cook who finally showed frailty. Ian Bell then got an under-edge behind off Sharma before Pietersen was lbw sweeping to give Ashwin his only wicket at a cost of 183 runs. Ojha found extra turn to have Samit Patel caught by Virender Sehwag for 33. But Matt Prior and Graeme Swann, bolstered the lead to 193.
Overnight: India 316 (S R Tendulkar 76, G Gambhir 60, M S Dhoni 52; M S Panesar 4-90).
ENGLAND First Innings
A Cook run out 190
I Trott c Dhoni b Ojha 87
K Pietersen lbw b Ashwin 54
I Bell c Dhoni b I Sharma 5
S Patel c Sehwag b Ojha 33
M Prior not out 40
G Swann not out 21
Extras b13 lb4 nb5 pens 0 22
Total 6 wkts (163 overs) 509
To Bat: M Panesar, J Anderson, S Finn.
Bowling: Khan 29-6-82-0; I Sharma 29- 8- 78 -1 Ashwin 52-9-183 -1; Ojha 50 -10 -140- 3; Yuvraj Singh 3 -1- 9- 0.