Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cook Completes Century to Continue Revival as England Stage a Fight-Back

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cook Completes Century to Continue Revival as England Stage a Fight-Back

Article excerpt

ALASTAIR Cook made his first Test hundred for almost two years as England battled back from the loss of early wickets in the third Test against the West Indies.

Cook's wait to extend his national record to 26 Test tons had stretched back 35 innings to May 2013, and despite a recent run of half-centuries, his form had long been under question.

But, having seen his side fall to 38 for three in Bridgetown, Cook batted until the final over of the day, when he under-edged Marlon Samuels to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin to depart for 105 and bring about the close of play four balls ahead of schedule. He had seen his side to 240 for seven, but much more work will be needed today if they are to make the most of captain Cook having won the toss.

Cook's hundred saw him continue his recent run, but Joe Root failed to make it a magnificent seven.

The Yorkshire batsman was bidding to become the first Englishman to pass 50 in seven successive Test innings and in the process match a world record.

But having looked in sublime touch as his team-mates toiled in Bridgetown, he pushed at a wide delivery from spinner Veerasammy Permaul on 33 and got a thin edge to Ramdin. Only 25 overs were bowled during a ponderous opening session at the Kensington Oval, but that was enough for the hosts to dismiss both Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell for ducks as well as Gary Ballance for 18.

Cook won the toss and elected to bat but West Indies were given early impetus when Shannon Gabriel extended Trott's miserable return to Test cricket by removing the opener in the second over.

Trott had retained his place in the side despite making just one score of note in the first two matches - 59 in the first innings at St George's - but Gabriel's short and fast delivery exposed familiar weaknesses as he spooned the ball up to square leg where Permaul took an easy catch.

Cook took advantage of two short balls from Jerome Taylor, swatting both to the leg-side boundary, before Jason Holder and Marlon Samuels were introduced to the home side's attack.

Ballance hit the first six of the day in the 15th over, but the in-form lefthander's innings came to an abrupt end five balls later when Holder removed his middle stump. …

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