England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 2nd day August 11, 2011

Cook hundred puts woeful India to the sword


England 456 for 3 (Cook 182*, Morgan 44*) lead India 224 by 232 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

India hadn't seen the best of Alastair Cook in the first two Tests. Now they have. His unbeaten 182, a 19th Test hundred, carried England into a position of complete control at Edgbaston as they built a lead of 232 with the prospect of plenty more to come. Cook added 187 for the first wicket alongside Andrew Strauss, while Kevin Pietersen contributed a lively half-century during India's worst day of the series with England closed on an imposing 456 for 3.

Cook's lean start to the series - 20 runs in four innings - was barely enough to constitute a problem, but the expectations on him are high after his run-scoring feats over the last 12 months. A year ago, midway through the Pakistan series, Cook was in the middle of a severe slump but this hundred was his third of the summer and fourth of the year. His century came from 213 balls and after a watchful, dogged, start both yesterday evening then in the morning session he was scoring freely through the leg side and also with both his cover drive and cut.

Yet it wasn't just Cook's normal shots that were on show. At one stage he played a reverse sweep off Amit Mishra having noted the vacant slip area, which also cost India the opportunity of dismissing Cook when he slashed through the gap on 94. He didn't offer a clear-cut life, although inside-edged Ishant Sharma over the stumps shortly after reaching his hundred and Sachin Tendulkar didn't appear to pick up the ball at mid-on when Cook clipped in the air on 165. He appeared on track to reach his second double hundred before the close, but was content to play out time and wait for a new day.

For England the success of their openers added two more pieces to the series jigsaw that is almost complete. All they need now is for Graeme Swann to play a part in the second innings which isn't out of the question having seen the turn Mishra and even Suresh Raina were able to extract. This was a humbling day for India and they were never in the contest. The ground fielding was poor and the catching fallible with three chances going down; the third of them in the final over of the day when Rahul Dravid missed a dolly at slip with Eoin Morgan on 43. Dravid threw his cap down in frustration. It summed up India's performance.

Early wickets could have brought them back into the contest but they never materialised and the rare inroads they did make never halted England's progress. The attack was largely toothless, although Praveen Kumar deserves immense credit for his unstinting efforts which were rewarded with two wickets and a pair of sore feet.

England, quite sensibly, gave the first hour to the bowlers aware that India's attack lacked depth and scoring would steadily become easier. Cook made 5 from his first 42 balls in the day and there was a five-over period with one run off the bat - Praveen's first spell was 7-5-2-0 - but India were denied any inroads. Strauss and Cook then expanded their scoring as runs flowed either side of lunch and the pace never slowed. The day brought 372 runs which, to follow on from 417 conceded on the third day Trent Bridge, highlights how profligate the bowling has been.

Strauss was closing in on his first Test hundred since Brisbane last November but moved too far across when he went to sweep Mishra and the ball clipped leg stump. Replays showed it was another no-ball on a day Mishra delivered eight. However, if India had hoped that would give them a chance to assert some pressure they soon found England scoring at an even greater rate as Ian Bell began with a string of boundaries off Ishant. Bell was given a life on 30 when Dravid dropped a low chance at first slip but it wasn't too costly for India as Praveen produced a beautiful delivery to take off stump.

Pietersen continued the positive approach, after his off-the-mark boundary flew close to leg slip, and made his intent to dominate Mishra clear when he drilled him straight then launched him into the stands over long-on. Against the new ball he was expansive, taking three boundaries in an over off Ishant, the first of which took him to fifty from 52 deliveries. It was a shock - both for the crowd and Pietersen - when he was given lbw to Praveen despite being a long way down the pitch although Hawk Eye said it was clipping off stump. Pietersen had to drag himself away, no doubt aware that there were plenty more runs on offer.

Still, the occasional wicket was barely a set-back for England. Another partnership would form, as Cook did with Eoin Morgan, but India continued to find new ways to embarrass themselves as Sreesanth spilled a simple catch at point to give Morgan his first life on 17. Like at Trent Bridge, after a brief test against the quicks, Morgan was able to face some fairly friendly spin with the pacemen exhausted. India looked anything but the No. 1 team in the world and soon they won't be.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 14, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    there is only 1 reason behind India Failure and the reason is "IPL", e.g You pay million dollars to the test player like Laxman, Dravid and Sachin for hitting boundary every ball then you expect temprament in Test?? the reason behind English Strong Batting is Cook, Strauss, and many others not playing t20 bcoz thay r geniune Test player and same for Aussies toooo.... like clark, ponting ETC.... ban IPL for test players then ind will be on winning track...

  • Dummy4 on August 12, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    Now Everyone Is Clear As To Who Invented The Game Of Cricket?

  • Mohan on August 12, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    England deserve to win this match and this series. The way the approached this series tells all. I dont agree with Indian Players didnt get rest. Atleast 6 cricketers in the playing 11 didnt play WI tour. India got to No.1 position just like that without any knowing and spent more time at that position then we intially thought. The decline started at WI tour, where india didnt go ahead to chase 90+ runs in 6/over and called off the chase. It seems they are happy to get away with a draw with No.9 team without a fight.

    I am not against IPL but i love watching Indian team winning than any IPL team winning. I am only worried that indian fans losing interest in test cricket because of the attitude of our players and BCCI . I hope this series will put pressure on BCCI and make sure they get their priorties right.

  • Peter on August 12, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    Before the series started I thought India a completely spent force and said so here, expecting a 3-0 or 4-0 score. Expecting their key older players to survive several back-to-back Tests and perform well, especially after the preparation they thought was adequate, was simply never on against this England side. India may have been ranked No 1 for 18 months but were only ever really one of three teams somewhere around the top. Are they now among the best five or six? Probably not. But even though I expected a one-sided series, I never expected the shoddy, spineless performance we've seen from India, especially in the field. Not only overweight, unathletic and unfit, but a terrible attitude. After sitting back and deferring to them, Fletcher should now grab them all by the throat & tell them they'll now do it HIS way. After Lord's, I said here that the margin would be India's narrowest defeat. And it will be. India will eventually bounce back, but ony when they prioritise Test cricket.

  • Naveed on August 12, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    This is a perfect example of a fake number 1 team

  • Dummy4 on August 12, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    What a dominant performance from England...yet again. India will be hoping for rain because that's the only thing that can stop England from where I'm sitting. While it is, of course, possible that Tendulkar and co. could mount a brilliant defence to force a draw, there have been no signs of their potential brilliance thus far in this contest. I predict a 4-0 thrashing if England win this match. Fantastic performance from all players except Swann in this series. If he performs, along with the rest of the squad in England's future matches, I think nobody will be able to stop them for a long time.

  • Andrew on August 12, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    This is becoming ridiculously one sided. Where are all Indian big stories about willingly underperforming against Somerset to catch England off guard, starting a tour slow and then picking up, the greatest come backs, etc, etc. lol

  • Dummy4 on August 12, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    so damn embarrassing this one is turning out. How come the world cup winning Indian cricketers consistently play so poorly and likes of Cook (no offence) score double hundreds!!! We do not need a coach like Duncan Fletcher ( can not believe he was hired in the first place!!, again no offence :)), and that to replace some one as good as Kirsten...

  • Wala on August 12, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    looks like going to lose this one by innings. Hey Cook, give a break will you. These are the best bowlers selected out of 1.2 billion.

  • Mark on August 12, 2011, 11:22 GMT

    Can anyone explain why India had their overworked bowlers fielding in key positions yesterday? As if they weren't tired enough. All this, while the likes of Tendulkar lounged in the outfield contributing nothing...

  • No featured comments at the moment.