Canterbury v England XI, 2nd tour match, Christchurch February 3, 2008

Cook ton seals victory

Cricinfo staff

England XI 219 for 3 (Cook 138*, Collingwood 40) beat Canterbury 218 for 9 (Papps 89, van Wyk 53*, Collingwood 3-15, Wright 3-31)

Alastair Cook, after his unbeaten 138, is now certain to be in the mix for the Twenty20 and the five ODIs against New Zealand © Getty Images
Alastair Cook struck gold in the second practice match against Canterbury, blasting an unbeaten 138 off 140 balls, etched with 20 hits to the boundary and two beyond it, to take the England XI to a convincing seven-wicket win in Christchurch.

With his knock, Cook has all but booked his place in the England line-up for the Twenty20 international at Eden Park on Tuesday, as well as the following five ODIs. Cook was the mainstay of England's chase of 219, starting with aggressive intent while opening with wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, who after scoring 11, was cleaned up by seamer Leighton Burtt. Kevin Pietersen, too, had a brief stint at the crease, caught behind by Kruger van Wyk off Hamish Bennett.

But Cook, maintained his cool and kept up the scoring rate, adding 89 runs with captain Paul Collingwood, before the latter holed out to the deep off legspinner Todd Astle within reach of a half-century. The finishing touches were laid by Cook and Shah (20 not out), as England claimed victory with 43 balls to spare.

Earlier, Canterbury were off to a cautious start with Iain Robertson (28) adding 42 runs with Michael Papps before James Anderson induced Robertson into a fatal drive to Shah at mid-off. Chris Tremlett then made it two in quick succession when Johann Myburgh nicked to Mustard, who dived to his right to pouch the catch.

Canterbury then slumped from 90 for 2 to 104 for 5, after three wickets were claimed by the military medium-pace of Collingwood, two of those coming in succession. Collingwood got his first wicket when he snapped up Peter Fulton and the very next ball, the former international Paul Harris, played on. His third victim was Shahan Stewart, who pushed a soft catch to mid-on.

But Michael Papps resurrected the Canterbury innings with a defiant half-century. He added 92 runs for the sixth wicket with van Wyk, who remained unbeaten on 53. But Papps fell short of a well-deserved century, when, on 89, he found Anderson in the deep of the part-time seam-up of Luke Wright, who claimed two more wickets. Canterbury finished with 218, and though the final score looked unlikely considering their middle-order collapse, it proved to be a cakewalk for the England batsmen.