Day 3: Cook misses out on a double but England in complete command
Captain Alastair Cook continued to torment India with a monumental knock of 190 as England put themselves in the driver's seat by taking a mammoth 193 runs first innings lead in the third cricket Test here today.
Alastair Cook produced another magnificent effort before was run-out in a freak manner while Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen also made significant contributions with scores of 87 and 54 respectively with England reaching a massive 509 for six at the end of the third day's play.
At stumps, Matt Prior on 40 and Graeme Swann on 21 had added 56 runs for the undefeated seventh wicket partnership to compound India's misery.
On yet another frustrating day for Indian bowlers, Pragyan Ojha was the leading wicket-taker with his 3/140, while Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin managed a wicket each as seniormost pacer Zaheer Khan bowled 29 wicketless overs.
Cook's marathon effort spanned over eight hours and 12 minutes and he added 173 runs with Trott for the second wicket after being involved in a 165-run opening wicket stand with Nick Compton.
Resuming the day at 216 for one, England slowly built on their lead as the day progressed while Cook's masterclass century brought the best from Trott who signalled his return to form with a responsible knock after two ducks in the first two Tests.
With two days left in the match, England seem to be in a position from where they can push for a 2-1 lead in the four-match series. the Indians, on the other hand, will have to bat out of their skins in the second innings to save the game.
The inept Indian bowling and equally poor fielding did not help the cause as England gained heavily. In their pursuit for an unassailable 2-1 lead, England remained in course for a big lead with two more days to go in the third Test at Eden where India never lost a Test since 1999.
Cook was dropped by Ishant Sharma off his own bowling when the English skipper was on 156 as the Indians appeared clueless throughout day. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn't show any pro-active approach and none of his plans seemed to click.
Cook, who yesterday became the leading English centurion with 23 tons, got the second reprieve when he offered the simplest of return catch failing to check his shot. Sharma tried to latch onto it on his follow-through but ultimately dropped a dolly and was finding it hard to believe. Cook had no trouble negotiating the Indian bowlers otherwise as he notched up his seventh 150 plus score in Tests clobbering Zaheer through mid-wicket. The in-form English skipper also went past 500 runs in the series, only the third Englishman to do so in a series in India after Ken Barrington and Mike Gatting. Throughout his fluent innings, Cook also ensured an out-of-form Trott reach his 13th Test half-century.
For the Indians, the lack of enthusiasm and team spirit was clearly evident from their body language. As he was approaching his third double century, Cook slowed down a bit while India kept attacking Pietersen at the other end. India finally brought an end to the England skipper's marathon innings when Cook was run out in a freakish way by a direct throw from Virat Kohli just before the tea-break.
Letting his insticts take over, Cook while backing up from the non-striker's end tried to evade Kohli's direct throw but in the process failed to make his ground. Cook faced 377 balls in his record-breaking century that also had 23 boundaries and two sixes. In the ongoing series, Cook has accumulated 547 runs at an average of 136.75 having batted for 26 hours. Cook's dismissal came shortly after Ojha had given the first breakthrough of the day almost an hour after the lunch when Trott was caught behind by Dhoni with the ball taking a thin edge.
But Pietersen was in his usual aggressive way as he attacked the Indian spinners especially when he smacked Ojha for three consecutive boundaries just after the tea break.
England's intentions were loud and clear as Pietersen raced to a fine half-century from 83 balls before being trapped leg-before by Ashwin. Pietersen struck nine boundaries and one six in his knock coming from 85 balls.
Samit Patel (33) could not make it big but notched his highest Test before he top-edged one off Ojha's bowling to Sehwag in the slips.
But thereafter, English duo of Prior and Swann engaged themselves in a fine partnership scoring runs at ease. Prior quickfire 40 not out came off 46 balls with six fours and one six, while Swann played a perfect fiddle with three fours as he remained undefeated on 21.