Cow Corner

A winner and a loser for England

Cow Corner

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Cook stole the show at Edgbaston today, giving England fans 294 reasons to
forget a man who might be about to make an extended trip into the shadows.

team-mate Ravi Bopara was the next man in midway through the evening session on
day two. It was 218 runs and the lion's share of 24 hours later before he got a
chance to get to the crease.

As England
enjoyed a third consecutive day of grinding down - a word Cook himself used to
describe it - their illustrious opponents, Bopara was doubtless steeling himself
for the most important innings of his career. Whenever the cameras cut to him,
pads on, he was fidgeting, watching nervously, waiting.

And on Cook
ploughed. Having scored 155 runs yesterday, Chef added a further 112
today.  The attacking shots seemed to
disappear from his armoury, eschewed for remorseless focus, trademark flicks
and cuts, and an insatiable
to simply stay at the crease.

At one
point towards the end of his knock Cook had hit just two boundaries all day.
His batting partner, by now Tim Bresnan, had matched that in 18 balls.

There were
even whispers amongst readers of the Eurosport coverage and from the press box
alike that Cook was playing so cautiously that he was batting more for himself
than he was for the team. So conservative was the left-hander, one expert
joked, that if you gave him a Maserati, an empty motorway and unlimited fuel,
he'd still tootle along at 65 miles per hour.

But one of
cricket's truisms (rarely quoted) is that there is no such thing as a bad
innings of 294. It was a chanceless affair, scored, when all was tallied up, at
a more than a run every two balls.

when Eoin Morgan - surely the only man Bopara could have any realistic hope of
dislodging from the batting line-up - finally fell for 104, the stage was set
for the Essex man to fail.

Cook and
Morgan had not scored freely, but they had played themselves in. The India
spinners, now turning considerably, were making Bopara hop around from the
first ball.

If Bopara
scored heavily from a starting point of 596 for four - the point at which he
entered the fray - what value could truly be attached to the runs? And if he
failed it would only look more wretched against the tower of runs scored by his

comfortable, perhaps appreciating the hiding to nothing that he was on, Bopara
floundered, and was put out of his misery by Amit Mishra with just seven runs
to his name.

It was his
first innings for England in two years, and if Trott is fit by the time the
fourth Test at The Oval, it could be longer than that before he gets another

much-feted James Taylor could consider himself hugely unlucky not to get the
nod for this Test over Bopara, having been picked as captain for the England
Lions game against Sri Lanka A last week and twice outscoring his rival (76 and
98, compared to 19 and 25). With
Taylor scoring a century for the Lions today in a one-day game today
, the
pressure to include the 21-year-old on the winter tour could be too much to

Cowers is
not necessarily championing Bopara for the Test spot - but spare a thought for
the man who didn't have a fair chance to show what he could do in this Test -
and now may not again.


TALKING POINT OF THE DAY: Did England bat too slowly? Resuming
on 456 for three, most assumed England would tear into India almost immediately
- instead, it was a slow, painful day for the tourists. Should England have
gone for the kill - or was there enough time in the game that the hosts could
be patient?

What do you think? Post your views below...


USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Sehwag if you don't know what
to do with your ducks just ask Cook." - Reynold Goolsarran rubs in Virender Sehwag's king pair after a
disastrous return to Tests for the India opener.

TWEET OF THE DAY: "Indian fielders running over to
congratulate Cook, or just checking he is human. #heisnt" Jarrod Kimber sums up a day of

STAT OF THE DAY: Take your pick of the umpteen records Alastair
Cook broke - but the best score by an Englishman in 21 years and the best in
the history of Edgbaston are Cowers' personal favourites.

SNAP OF THE DAY: Had nobody told Cook that you shouldn't be
disappointed with a score of 294? The opener looked disconsolate as he trudged
off after his nine-hour marathon.

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