Cookie crumble? Alastair Cook had bad puns and intense scrutiny over his place
at the top of the order to contend with at The Oval, but he responded with a
a docile deck the out-of-nick opener attempted to reach his half-century
exclusively in thick edges through third slip, and would have succeeded but for
an inadvertent flick through square leg for two. As the old saying goes, 'when
you are in a bad trot, flash hard and edge even harder'.
after bringing a new meaning to the term "streaky" as he edged,
nicked and sliced his way to 50 with every technical frailty being incessantly
highlighted by the chirpy Pakistan slip cordon, the Chef eventually found his stride.
a Jamaican bobsleigh team, Cook felt the rhythm and the rhyme as he notched up his
ton and, resisting the urge to 'do a Nasser' and point to the back of his shirt
in abrasive fashion, he instead pointed menacingly in the direction of the media
box before stroking his mullet. A Kriss Akabusi-esque fist wiggle followed, and Goochy no doubt followed suit in support of his 'young pup' on the England balcony.
the vice-skip was almost keeled over laughing after a comical episode of
Pakistani showmanship from Mohammad Asif took him to three figures: the seamer
hurled the ball back, only to see it sail over Kamran Akmal's head for four
in his innings, Salman Butt might as well have had six fielders standing alongside
each other at third slip as Cook's bat was left with a line of red cherry prints
down his outside edge.
Cook was the one left smiling as he confounded those pointing and laughing at
his one-spoked wagon wheel with a glorious cover drive for four, and from there
he did not look back (well, only when he was finally snaffled behind for 110).
Chef's exploits were quickly overshadowed, however, as the England middle order
folded like a stack of cardboard npower girls and capitulated from 194 for
three at tea, to 221 for nine at the close.
Six wickets fell for 26 runs as no one after Kevin Pietersen
mustered more than six runs in what was made to look the longest England tail since
the heady days of Messrs Mullally, Giddins and Tufnell.
It was a kamikaze end to the day from England, but it must not
take anything away from the brilliance of Mohammad 'I can't tell you what I put
in my hair' Aamer.
The prodigious left-armer routed the England lower order in a
display of bowling as notable for his hysterical fist-pump celebrations as the
Saeed Ajmal must have been equally tanked up on happy juice and Red
Bull as he jigged around uncontrollably after each of his four dismissals.
The white coats brought an abrupt end to proceedings after judging
that the floodlights were actually no use at all, to leave Pakistan with a clear
sight of a series-salvaging victory.
SHOT OF THE DAY: After five boundaries
through third slip, Cook managed to squeeze a back-foot push through gully for
four runs to make himself feel a tad better, while utterly infuriating the
ever-chirpy Wahab Riaz.
STAT OF THE DAY: Cook came into the second
innings at The Oval with a paltry series average of just 9.40 and a highest
score of 19, but after one knock has booked his plane ticket to Australia in
USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "How about England drop Andrew
Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, and Paul Collingwood then build a new
team around Cook? Does that sound good? It does to me."
(Today's poll: Is Brian being sarcastic or is he seriously proposing a sudden
overhaul to Geoff Miller in light of Cook's century?)
SIDENOTE OF THE DAY: ICC cricket committee
chairman Clive Lloyd, the man famous for having 13 grips on his long handle,
was forced to apologise for the "oversight" which saw Graeme Swann
omitted from the Cricketer of the Year long list. The committee clearly rattled
through the list in hasty fashion following an impromptu liquid lunch.
- Alastair Cook