December 6, 2012
The England dressing room may be fed up with Alastair Cook losing five tosses in his five tests as England captain but there can be no complaints about his performances at the helm with bat in hand. He has now completed centuries in each of those five matches. Day 2 of the second test between India and England at Kolkata saw the visitors finishing on 216 – 1, trailing by exactly 100 with Cook (136) and Trott (21) not out and ready to resume hostilities in the morning.
Serenaded by trumpeter Bill Cooper and the voices of the Barmy Army, it was another day of records for Cook. First of all he became the youngest player in the history of the game to reach 7000 test runs, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar. On reaching three figures, he passed former greats Hammond, Boycott and Cowdrey to notch his 23rd ton – more than any other Englishman – in just his 86th test. Still three weeks short of his 28th birthday, the sky is now the limit for Cook.
As in Ahmedabad and Mumbai, he presented the broadest of bats to the Indian bowlers and struck boundaries all round the wicket. Batting solidly and fluently, he has now taken his tally in the series to 493 in just three completed innings. Cook was well supported by Nick Compton who, after a slow measured start, compiled a maiden test fifty, as the openers posted a first wicket stand of 165. Trott, woefully short of runs on the tour, survived a nervous opening, but grew in confidence in the closing overs.
In the morning session, India reached 316 with skipper MS Dhoni scoring his first fifty of the series. Local observers suggested that this was a below par score. Monty Panesar picked up two tailenders and finished with figures of 4 – 90.
The wicket remains benign and there seems no reason why England cannot press on and build up a big lead. Kevin Pietersen, now one behind Cook on 22 test hundreds, will no doubt be keen to play a part. And a message for their skipper from the England dressing room? Keep calling heads as the coin comes down tails.
The Scoop 06/12/12