Cook continues to make a big daddy; India buried
Close: Third Test, day two, Edgbaston
Match score: India 224 (MS Dhoni 77; SCJ Broad 4-53, TT Bresnan 4-62); England 456-3 (AN Cook 182*, EO Morgan 44*, AJ Strauss 87, KP Pietersen 63) Full scorecard
Session score: England 137-1. England lead by 232 runs with seven wickets in hand. England win session
Alastair Cook continued his dominance of this game and of the Test landscape over the last 10 months.
By batting himself into fluency, he showed that the first two Tests were a blip on his personal climb up the Test batting rankings, rather than the end of a purple patch.
There is lots to admire about Cook’s batting, maybe not aesthetics, but the crisp driving and cutting, the fitness and the concentration. That concentration is so good that, in reality, it probably isn’t concentration at all but brain-deadness.
There are two types of players who succeed: those that analyse every detail, prepare for every eventuality – see Jonathan Trott, Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid. And there are those that just let the natural instincts flow by staying brain-dead and not letting themselves think about it.
Cook bats for such a long time, he must find a low-level mental zone, a place that requires little energy, just batting and waiting, then batting and waiting.
Kevin Pietersen, in contrast, played a muddling innings. He looked fluent and aggressive, stepping across the stumps to smash Sharma through midwicket, pulling powerfully.
Then he reached 61 and it was as though he started thinking about it. He lost his rhythm and his timing, he could only scramble two more runs in a fraught three overs before Kumar had him lbw. He didn’t like the decision but it was out.
That was the solitary success in the evening. Eoin Morgan batting at No.5 started briskly, hitting his first ball for four and continued with a few reverse sweeps, a couple of meaty swipes and a drop catch, by Sreesanth at point. And then, to sum up the situation, Dravid put down a dolly from Morgan at slip in the final over from Raina.
In many respect it was a depressing day, short on competition and quality bowling. But England fans won’t complain. This was what Australia did for 16 years to England. Ruthless batting, quick run scoring, suffocating bowling.
Shot of the day Alastair Cook, off drive of Sharma in the morning session, which signalled his return to form. VVS would have been proud of the timing and purity.
Victim of the day Praveen Kumar who has had to toil all series and has not given up. He’s also taken 15 wickets but it looks like torture.
Innings of the day KP was blistering and exciting. Then a bit odd.
Analysis of the day “If we put 400-450 on this wicket, the game would have been different.” Gautam Gambhir
Coming to the party “When we got passed 100 we said that it was about time we’d done something.” Alastair Cook on his opening partnership with Andrew Strauss
Hopeless position of the day No.1 India
Hopeless position of the day No.2 Ravi Bopara (what can he do now?)
Edward Craig is the deputy editor of The Cricketer magazine. Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_Ed