India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata December 9, 2012

Cook instrumental in England taking series lead

Alastair Cook's performance in the third Test match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata helped England beat India by seven wickets and take a 2-1 series lead

Three Test matches and the Indian bowlers are yet to find an answer to Alastair Cook's superlative performance in the Test series so far. The England captain continued, in Kolkata, where he left of in Mumbai, by scoring 190 and helping his side beat India by seven wickets.

Cook was helped by a surface, at Eden Gardens, that offered little to the bowlers. India compounded their woes when Cheteshwar Pujara dropped him, when he was on 17, at first slip.

Having survived that, Cook was rarely under pressure, regularly punching through the cover and cutting wide deliveries. He also used the sweep effectively against the spinners and took quick singles to put pressure on India's bowlers.

His 165-run opening stand with Nick Compton provided a strong platform for England to mount a rearguard against India's first-innings score of 316. Following Compton's exit, Cook and Jonathan Trott continued, adding to the tally, with a 173-run stand.

"It was a great performance level for four and a half days," Cook said. "Everyone performed from one to 11 and that's what you need in these conditions. Our bowlers, on the first day, to keep India to 300 on that wicket was a fantastic effort."

"And after the start they got to get six wickets in that session yesterday really won us the game. It was a credit to the hard work they've put in that they can perform in these conditions."

He took the Man-of-the-Match award for his third hundred of the series, making it five tons in five matches as Test captain.

"I've been hitting the ball all right on this tour," he said. "It's nice to contribute to the team's success. To score runs here you've got to bat a long period of time. I had a bit of luck on and I managed to cash in."

"We'll never be complacent," he added. "We're not going to Nagpur to make up the numbers - we're going to try and win a Test match, which we know we can do."

He now has the most Test centuries for an England batsman, and is the youngest batsman to 7000 Test runs. He also has the most runs by an England captain on an India tour, breaking the 51-year record set by Ted Dexter, who was honoured by the Cricket Association of Bengal at the start of this Test.

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  • Hildreth on December 10, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    You have to applaud Alastair COOK for his tremendous batting performance in this series and also for his astute leadership of England. However you feel a bit of pity for the Indian bowlers who toiled really hard to GET HIM OUT but have had very little success. An OBSERVATION about Cook's TECHNIQUE against spin bowlers is that he's constantly trying to get his front foot outside off stump to avoid LBW. This could turn out to be a flawed technique if the SPINNERS bowl over or around the wicket but pitch mostly on the stumps turning either way. This could leave the batsman unbalanced and open to LBW or being bowled behind his legs. The FAST BOWLERS need to take a page from West Indies bowling over the wicket to him and angling the ball wide of off-stump inducing an edge. INDIAN bowlers would have to be patient against Cook to find success using these strategies. You must play on his PATIENCE & Petersen because they both like to feel bat on ball therefore playing at almost every ball.

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