Alastair Cook hits a century as England dominate India
Last updated on .From the section Cricket
|Third Test, Edgbaston (day two):|
|India 224 v England 456-3|
England batted India into submission to assume total control of the third Test at Edgbaston and move ever closer to the number one spot in the world rankings.
Alastair Cook was the star performer, batting throughout a one-sided second day to reach 182 not out as the hosts closed on 456-3 for a lead of 232, having scored 372 runs in the day.
Feeling his way back into form after a run of low scores, Cook featured in partnerships of 186 with Andrew Strauss - bowled off what was later revealed to be a no-ball for 87 - and 122 off 138 balls with Kevin Pietersen (63).
The 26-year-old reached three figures for the 19th time in his 71st Test shortly after tea to move within three of the all-time England record and level with Strauss and Len Hutton in equal sixth place.
While Cook, who has now converted five of his last 11 hundreds into scores of 150 or more, was a model of concentration and stamina, India once again showed little appetite for the fight, their malaise encapsulated in the spilling of three routine chances.
Such is England's all-round superiority that it is almost impossible to imagine India preventing the hosts from completing the third straight victory that would confirm their status as the best Test side around.
After the start of play was delayed for 30 minutes by rain, England's openers made steady progress from their overnight 84-0 to bring up the home side's seventh century partnership of the series, compared to only one by India.
With Strauss and Cook unwilling to take risks, the onus was on India to make something happen but once again their body language was devoid of energy, their bowling pedestrian and their fielding lacklustre.
Cook struck the first four of the day in the 16th over and reached his 27th Test fifty off 130 balls just before lunch.
Strauss looked primed for his first hundred since Brisbane in November until he attempted to sweep leg-spinner Amit Mishra and was bowled round his legs, with replays revealing Mishra had overstepped and should have been called for a no-ball.
Ian Bell, given a rousing reception at his home ground by an increasingly vocal crowd, was positive from the outset, striking six fours to reach 30 off 24 balls and take England into the lead.
But moments after Cook had brought the spectators to their feet by reaching his hundred, Bell induced a collective sigh as he was bowled by a fine leg-cutter from the tireless Praveen Kumar.
Pietersen was in no mood to hang around, serving notice of his intent by smashing Mishra for six and storming to 50 off 53 balls.
He survived an umpire review after India thought they had him caught behind but was soon on his way to the pavilion after playing around a straight ball from Kumar.
Eoin Morgan clattered his first ball for four, but should have been dismissed for 17 when he sliced straight to point, where Sreesanth dropped, and on 43 when he was put down by Rahul Dravid at slip in the final over of the day.
The Dubliner finished on 44 not out, while Cook remained imperious as he moved within sight of his second double-hundred in Tests.
Listen to Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott's review of each day's play on the TMS podcast.