England v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Cardiff, 3rd day May 28, 2011

Cook and Trott hit hundreds in record stand

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England 287 for 2 (Cook 129*, Trott 125*) trail Sri Lanka 400 by 113 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The Ashes series finished more than four months ago, but for Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott it looked like only yesterday as the pair resumed their remarkable run-scoring combination with a century each in an unbroken stand of 240 in Cardiff. Cook reached his 17th Test hundred to continue his prolific form from Australia and Trott brought up number six to cement his mighty average as England moved to 287 for 2.

Play was delayed until 2pm on a damp, chilly day and the atmosphere couldn't have been more removed from the cauldrons of the Gabba and MCG, yet it made no difference to the hunger of either batsman. Cook's hundred came from 224 balls when he collected his eighth boundary with a rasping cut off Suranga Lakmal and it was his fifth in ten innings since the 110 against Pakistan, at The Oval, when many were calling for his head. Trott's followed not long after, from 196 deliveries, with a flowing cover drive in the first over of the second new ball, and the pair's alliance became England's best for any wicket against Sri Lanka.

There is more rain forecast for the final two days, but England have the platform from which to put Sri Lanka under pressure although they will be down to a three-man bowling attack after James Anderson was diagnosed with a side strain. Despite the news that he won't bowl again in this Test, and is a serious doubt for Lord's, Anderson resumed as nightwatchman. However, he didn't last long before jabbing Ajantha Mendis to slip with England having not added to their overnight total. Yet it didn't harm England's prospects as, unless a nightwatchman can score quickly, his presence tends to hold up the game and that wasn't what this match needed after so many delays.

Instead, it allowed the two major batting stars of the Ashes to join forces again. It was a slow start as they got used to facing Mendis and refused to chase the succession of wide deliveries from the seamers, but steadily the runs began to flow. The first boundary of the day came with a Trott square drive in the 12th over of the session and it was actually the removal of Mendis from the attack that helped England increase the rate.

Rangana Herath struggled to settle into a consistent line as he offered Cook an opportunity to put away an early cut then Trott drove him through the covers. At the other end Thisara Perera was dispatched for consecutive boundaries by Cook although the first of those flew between second slip and gully off the edge.

Cook went to his fifty and Trott then began to catch him up with some trademark leg-side shots off the seamers who fell into the same trap as the Australians by bowling too straight. In the last over before tea the pair brought up their fourth hundred partnership in Tests and the one significant alarm in the entire stand came when Trott could have been run out by a direct hit from mid-on on 59, but Perera's throw missed despite having three stumps to aim at.

It was a rare opportunity for Sri Lanka and their attack was toothless on a slow pitch. Lakmal was wholehearted and Mendis economical, but from early on in the Cook-Trott stand there was the sense that Tillakaratne Dilshan wanted to protect what he had with 400 on the board rather than try and bowl England out. There was a period of an hour-and-a-half when they didn't hit a boundary, but with sweepers in place ones and twos were on offer to keep the scoreboard ticking.

As the final session progressed the scoring rate increased and either side of the two batsmen reaching hundreds runs came at more than five-an-over. The taking of the new ball helped England as the extra pace off the bat negated a slower outfield - Mendis conceded his first boundaries of the day when Trott twice put him through the covers - and Dilshan had to have a few more men in attacking positions. One thing the new ball didn't do, though, was provide Sri Lanka a breakthrough and they face plenty more leather chasing in this innings.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • NoMeRcY-RaGE on May 30, 2011, 15:36 GMT

    @Geoffrey Anthony Plumridge culmination of consistency??? nice one mate...no worries I would not like to draw up any measures and would wait to see what your UNDERRATED poms do...whether they thwart us or not..what happens when england is about to tour India?? no one of u guys comes out to say anything...but now wen we r to arrive at ur place suddenly the tongues r wagging..u knw what even that doesnt worry me a bit...i know what India will do when we come to england...no matter what u wont win sahajn@gmail.com

  • dummy4fb on May 30, 2011, 2:45 GMT

    @NoMeRcY-RaGE- Mate England have had a settled team since 2005. This current team is the culmination of all that consistency. Watch them overtake the overrated sub-continent teams like India & Sri Lanka and demolish the chokers South Africa.

    Then all we will hear from Englands detractors is the predictable silence. Just like we heard from Australia last two ashes canings.

  • allblue on May 29, 2011, 11:51 GMT

    England's current selection policy can be summed up in one word - consistency. For England fans with a memory going back more than 10 years this is probably a good thing. On the other hand, we have a remarkable depth to our seam options right now, so perhaps a 'horses for courses' approach would be better. Broad, Tremlett and Finn are tall back-of-a-length bowlers, so are more effective on bouncy wickets - which Cardiff is most definitely not. Anderson and Onions will swing it, while Bresnan and Shazad are bustling, skiddy bowlers with a bit of reverse swing. So to my mind, Shazad should have been in for Tremlett here as that attack would be better balanced and suit the conditions better. Then again, playing a Test match in Cardiff in May perhaps we should be looking for cricketers with gills and webbed feet!

  • dummy4fb on May 29, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    Sorry my friend...Swann is not the world's best spinner.He is good.But after murali retired , there is still harbhajan singh.You have to accept that.I'm a Sri Lankan.But becoming best is not as easy as you think...

  • Finn92 on May 29, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    Looks like our batsman are going to tuck into this average Sri Lankan attack this series, these two are in such great form keep going boys and make them doubles

  • dummy4fb on May 29, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    @YDES Sri Lanka have not yet won a test since murili retired, considering they had a three match home series against WI, who are not the best side at the moment that does suggest that "life without murali" will be hard indeed. To be fair its hard to replace someone like him.

  • NoMeRcY-RaGE on May 29, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    @Hammond-England always hav had a bowling unit said to be willing and skillful(by you guys only) and yet you guys after playing for so many years have never ever been counted among the top teams...after beating aussies who were struggling at that time we will see for that when India tours ur backyard...suddenly u guys say that we r world's best team...stop thinking about India's rebuilding phase as england never had a settled team so u dnt have to figure out about rebuilding...leave aside the numero uno in tests...i am sure our neighbours lanka even widout dere best team on the park wud make u run like u knw what-POMS

  • AVRAJAN on May 29, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    A fan has mentioned that Swann is the best spinner in the world. He must correct this as one of the best spinners. Swann could not deliver much and forced to learn a lot in sub continent pitches in the world cup. He will further learn a lot when India comes there.

  • YDES on May 29, 2011, 9:35 GMT

    "Life Without Murali" Andrew MacGlashen's comment needs to be vwerified.I am sure SL have won matches without Murali.Moreover,400 against the so called the greatest bowling attack is not to be scoffed at.If SL had not suffered with injuries to the two Fernando pacies it would have been different.So far England batting has been so boring!That is the reason stands r half full.SL r world renown for attacking cricket.They have a better run rate agaianst the best attack!Unless the pitch breaks up (very unlikely in Cardiff)a draw is inevitable.

  • Narkovian on May 29, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    Against a bowling attack as weak as this, ENG should be up past 400 by now. Progress was so slow at times yesterday that I just couldnt watch any more. With effectively only 1 wkt down what were we doing ? N

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