Sunday, November 28, 2010


Centuries from Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook set up a dominating fourth day for England as the tourists reached 309-1 at stumps on Sunday and closer to a likely draw with Australia in the first Ashes Test.

England came into the day 202 runs behind Australia, but enters the final day leading by 88 with Cook unbeaten on 132 and Jonathan Trott on 54.

Strauss and Cook shared a 188-run opening stand to produce England's best ever partnership at the Gabba ground before the England captain was dismissed for 110, stumped by Brad Haddin off Marcus North.

Cook needs seven more runs to record England's best score at the Gabba and surpass Ian Botham's innings in 1986-87.

The opening partnership surpassed the stand of 160 by Graeme Hick and Graham Thorpe in 1994.

Strauss was dominant in the morning session, being particularly severe on Shane Watson who he hit for four boundaries in five overs. He brought up his first century in Australia with a superb late cut off Xavier Doherty.

Strauss then seemed to lose his rhythm, scoring just 10 from his next 40 deliveries, before a rash cross-batted shot caused his demise.

Cook looked less assured, but ground his way to his second century against Australia.

Although England toiled in the field for much of the previous day against centurions Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin, their bowlers produced a much better comeback at the end of the day, taking five wickets for 31 runs. In contrast, Australia's bowling attack failed to make an impact Sunday and, despite overcast conditions, there was no discernible swing.

In a day of few opportunities for the Australians, Trott gave a slight chance to Michael Clarke at point off the bowling of Peter Siddle.

Australia's hero in England's first innings, Siddle was also unlucky in the morning session as Cook edged just wide of third slip and later Strauss missed his leg stump from an inside edge.

Strauss was given a reprieve before lunch while on 69 when he hit a Doherty ball to Mitchell Johnson at mid-on, but the chance was dropped.

England scored 260 in the first innings before Australia notched 481 in reply with centuries from Hussey and Haddin.

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