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Agencies
July 18, 2018

Cook warms up for India Test challenge with century

Sports

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Agencies
July 18, 2018

LONDON: Alastair Cook scored an unbeaten 154 in over six hours opening the innings for England Lions in a four-day match against the visiting India A side in Worcester.

The century on Monday was the former captain’s 62nd in first-class cricket, and came after a string of near misses for Essex in recent times.Cook opened the innings with Rory Burns, the team captain, and after Burns fell cheaply, he carried on in the company of Nick Gubbins (73) and then Dawid Malan (59*) as the Lions ended the first day of the game on a dominant 310/2 against a reasonably strong Indian attack.

The England selectors had named a Lions side full of England internationals, Cook the biggest of the names in the team. Other prominent names, apart from Malan, are Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Dom Bess and Jack Leach.

Cook came into the game on the back of scores of 58, 9, 33, 0, 96 and 3 for Essex in the County Championships, the good scores alternating with poor ones, and needed to find form ahead of the five-Test series against India in August-September, which he has now.

In Tests too, it has been iffy time for England’s all-time leading run-scorer. Of his 12,145 Test runs, only 971 have come in the last 12 months, with two double-centuries contributing 487 of those.

In 25 innings apart from the two big scores – 243 vs the Windies and 244* vs Australia – he has just 484 runs with two half-centuries.On the day, though, he was in commanding form, handling the Indian attack of Navdeep Saini, Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammed Siraj, Jayant Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem well over 238 balls, in which he hit 22 boundaries.

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