Cricket - Cook breaks more records as England take control in Kolkata

Day two, Eden Gardens, Kolkata - England (216-1, Cook 136*, Compton 57) trail India (316) by 100 runs with nine first-innings wickets in hand.

Cricket - Cook breaks more records as England take control in Kolkata

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Alastair Cook celebrates his century (Reuters)

Alastair Cook struck his 23rd Test century as England dominated day two of the third Test against India in Kolkata.

The England captain was unbeaten on 136 as the tourists reached 216 for one at stumps, having dismissed India for 316 earlier in the day.

Cook shared the record for England Test tons with four other batsmen including Kevin Pietersen, but moved in front in his own right, having also passed 7000 Test runs earlier in his innings at a younger age than any other player in history.

His third century of the series, his five in five Tests as captain, set his side up for a sizeable first-innings lead, with Nick Compton (57) providing solid support and Jonathan Trott (21 not out) getting him through to the close of play.

India had their chance to remove him early - he edged Zaheer Khan behind to slip when on 17 - but Cheteshwar Pujara shelled the catch and with the skipper in such rich form on a track which offered little for spin or seam it was a devastating blow for the home side.

England started the morning much as they intended, taking the last three Indian wickets for the loss of 43 runs.

They could have feared the worst when Graeme Swann dropped Zaheer in the third over of the day, shelling a routine edge from James Anderson as India looked to score quickly – but Panesar made sure it was not too expensive by trapping him leg before wicket for six runs eight balls later.

Ishant Sharma became Panesar’s fourth victim in his next over, playing all around a straight ball.

Mahendra Dhoni launched him over the top for back-to-back sixes, but a curious impasse followed as the skipper and his number 11, Pragyan Ojha, played out 28 balls without scoring.

Dhoni broke the shackles with a four through the off side to raise his half-century, but departed the very next ball as Steven Finn surprised him with a bouncer which caught the bat handle and went to Swann.

Zaheer and Sharma got healthy swing with the new ball and runs were hard to come by in the early part of the England reply, and the batsmen had to be on their mettle - but having scored slowly, they found for the first time in the series that Ojha and Ravi Ashwin were far easier to score against, with little in the way of turn to trouble them.

Cook set the tone, the one drop against him aside - a six down the ground against Ashwin was particularly majestic, while his cover-driving continues to improve from series to series. He is no longer merely an accumulator of runs; he is also playing with elegance.

Compton was the more stoic of the pair, but still managed to play some elegant strokes and a powerful six over Ojha's head propelled him to a maiden half-century just after tea.

India grew more ragged as the day wore on; their fielding was routinely poor, and they were fortunate that Ojha was given an lbw decision against Compton as replays showed the opener had got some glove on the shot.

But by then a powerful platform had been set, and with Trott and Cook adding another 50 runs to reach stumps, England will be looking to bat India out of the game on day three and set up the possibility of a win which would put them 2-1 up in the four-Test series.

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