Alastair Cook has always been a very tough character, says Stuart Broad
Former England captain Alastair Cook hits 32nd Test ton to end his 10-innings stretch without a half-century, the longest dry spell of his 151-Test career, at MCG
England's Alastair Cook celebrates his century during Day Two of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday. PIC/GETTY IMAGES
Alastair Cook was urged to capitalise on his drought-breaking, unbeaten century after England's much-maligned old guard finally enjoyed a day to remember in the Ashes series yesterday. At 3-0 down after three Tests, the Ashes urn is already lost to Australia but Cook and Stuart Broad both showed their careers are not over just yet after critics had questioned their place in the England team.
England bowled out the Australians for 327, with 113-Test paceman Broad capturing four wickets for 51 runs in his best bowling performance in more than a year. Cook then ended a 10-innings stretch without a half-century, the longest dry spell of his 151-Test career, to claim his 32nd Test ton in the day's final over. At the close, England were 192 for two and trailing by 135 runs with Cook, playing in an English-record 34th consecutive Ashes Test, unbeaten on 104 and skipper Joe Root on 49 in an unbroken 112-run partnership.
"He's always been a very tough character, mentally strong guy and he was always going to come good at some stage," Broad said. I think Cookie has always had these periods in his career where he might not score the runs he wants but then he gets a really big score. He's someone who doesn't just deal in little hundreds, he just seems to go big." The Australians claimed two wickets with Josh Hazlewood trapping James Vince leg before wicket for 17 and Mark Stoneman out to a blinding one-handed return catch by spinner Nathan Lyon for 15. England earlier ended Steve Smith's incredible three-year unbeaten run in Melbourne as they bowled out the hosts for 327 just after lunch, claiming the last seven wickets for 67 runs.
Stuart Broad said he didn't hold a grudge against critics who called for him to be dropped after he ended with four wickets in the fourth Ashes Test yesterday. Broad had been under fire from detractors - including former England captain Michael Vaughan - after his career-worst 0-142 in Perth. "I think every time you step on to the field you're pretty much playing for your career, that's the pressure of international cricket," Broad said. "You never know how things will go, you just need to focus on making sure that your mindset's right, your work ethic's right to make sure you're doing everything to be at your best."
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