Ashes 2017-18, 4th Test Day 3, Review: Alastair Cook’s double ton flattens Australia
England hold a 164-run lead at the end of day 3 and will believe there is only one way this game can go for them.
Published - Dec 28, 2017 1:16 pm | Updated - Dec 28, 2017 3:22 pm
The 3rd day at MCG was all about Alastair Cook and his resilience as the veteran left-hander drove England to a position from where they can’t lose the Test match. The day started with the game being evenly poised. While the hosts needed quick wickets in the morning, the visitors just had to bat on and they had two of their classiest batsmen at the crease to pursue their cause.
The partnership between Cook and Root, however, didn’t extend for too long as the skipper once again failed to convert his fifty into a big one. Pat Cummins tested the English skipper with a barrage of short balls and the 26-year-old couldn’t resist the temptation of going for an aerial pull despite two fielders being positioned deep on the on side. A top edge flew into the hands of Nathan Lyon guarding the deep square leg region as Root’s innings came to an end at the score of 61.
The centurions of the last game, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow, were not able to add much to the score this time around as they both fell cheaply to Nathan Lyon and Moeen Ali, thereafter, played a bizarre knock where he tried to hit everything out of the park both against pace and spin.
The all-rounder seemed to have no confidence in his defence whatsoever as he tried to hit his way out of trouble and with that sort of approach, the dismissal was always on the cards. After living dangerously for about 15 minutes and scoring 20 odd runs, he was caught in the covers by Shaun Marsh and returned to the pavilion leaving England in dire straits.
It was a very crucial stage of the game and if the Kangaroos had managed to rip into the England tail there, they would have been well and truly back into the game, but Cook along with Woakes and then later with Broad showed the highest level of resilience as not only did he take England past Australia’s score, he made sure the Poms got a substantial lead as well.
The former England captain was all class right through the day. The mental toughness was exemplary and the determination was as solid as a rock. He exactly knew what shots he was playing and what not, the judgement of the length was brilliant and not for a single moment did he look hurried even though he saw his partners perish on a regular basis. Not one false shot came off his bat amidst the fall of wickets. He was simply out there to fight, fight and fight.
Cook showed a fair bit of confidence in the tail-enders as well and was prepared to give them the strike whenever possible and to be fair, the tail-enders repaid him as they exhibited the willingness to stay out there at the crease with the senior statesman.
Stuart Broad, in particular, probably played one of his best knocks in the recent times as he scored a fifty amidst the hostile fast bowling that the Aussies dished out to him and stitched a century partnership with Cook for the 9th wicket during which the latter got to his double hundred, the 5th of his career.
While Broad was dismissed just a few minutes before the stumps, Cook was still unbeaten at the score of 244 at stumps. With him at the other end was James Anderson who was yet to open his account.
Australia: 327 all out in 119 overs (David Warner 103, Steve Smith 76, Stuart Broad 51/4)
England: 491/9 in 144 overs (Alastair Cook 244 not out, Joe Root 61, Josh Hazlewood 95/3)