Cricket: Alastair Cook dismissed but England domination continues

Alastair Cook: dismissed in controversial circumstances
Alastair Cook: dismissed in controversial circumstances
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ALASTAIR Cook was finally dismissed, in controversial circumstances, as England nonetheless continued to dominate India on the third afternoon of the third Test at Eden Gardens.

England’s captain fell 10 short of what would have been his third double-century, when Virat Kohli arrowed in a direct-hit throw from midwicket to run him out backing up.

The complication was that Cook had appeared in position to ground his bat in time, only to raise it and allow the ball through.

His own reaction told the tale, however, that he was not forced into protective evasive action but merely for once guilty of a rare human error - a fact confirmed by third-umpire vindication of his departure.

Cook had by then put his team in prime position to push for victory, and a 2-1 series lead, and at tea they moved on to 381 for three in reply to 316 all out.

The captain’s eight-hour epic, encapsulating of course his record-breaking 23rd English Test century, underpinned an advantage which was consolidated in a stand of 173 with Jonathan Trott (87).

The second-wicket pair continued remorselessly this morning, although Cook needed one significant piece of good fortune on 156 when Ishant Sharma put down a straightforward return catch.

India managed to apply the brakes either side of lunch but could not manage a breakthrough as Trott moved past his 131-ball half-century, with a leg-glance off Zaheer Khan for his seventh four - a shot which also brought up the 100 stand.

The total progressed in staccato, but England still had time on their side to play a waiting game.

Spin replaced pace, to no avail until - in mid-afternoon - Trott was undone by one that turned from Pragyan Ojha and edged behind.

The arrival of Kevin Pietersen brought a familiar change in the bowling, Mahendra Singh Dhoni summoning Yuvraj Singh to try his luck against his favourite sparring partner.

Save for an early mistimed cut into the ground and just past off-stump, however, Pietersen was unfazed.

Instead, it was Cook who at last showed some frailty - surprised perhaps by an Indian fielder excelling himself in a match when that has so rarely happened so far.

He hung his head in disappointment on instant realisation, and it would have been asking a lot for Dhoni to recall his team’s tormentor merely because he was eventually run out.

Amazingly it was the first time Cook has been run out in his 312 first-class innings.

Thanks largely to the captain’s 23 fours and two sixes from 377 balls England were in any case already handily in credit with major power to add on a pitch just beginning to show signs of wear.