Cook’s unbeaten ton puts England in charge of Boxing Day Test

Cook’s unbeaten ton puts England in charge of Boxing Day Test
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Melbourne [Australia]: England opener Alastair Cook broke his shackles in vintage fashion as he smashed a sparkling unbeaten century to steer his side to a dominating position at stumps of the second day of the fourth Ashes Test here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Wednesday.

England, who are playing for pride after having already lost the Ashes urn to Australia, bundled out the hosts for 327 in their first innings just after the lunch of Day Two.

In reply, the Joe Root-led side were reduced to 80-2 after opener Mark Stoneman and James Vince were dismissed cheaply for 15 and 17 respectively.

However, Cook finally found some form after weeks of misery and struggle as he not only notched up an unbeaten knock of 104 but also combined with Root (49) to share a stubborn third-wicket partnership of 112 to put England in a rare position of strength.

At stumps, England had reached 192-2, trailing by 135 runs from Australia’s first-innings total.

The left-hander had struggled to make his mark at the top of the order throughout the Ashes series and has only added just one century to his name in the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, it is Cook’s 32nd century in Tests and his first since he scored a 243-run knock against West Indies at Edgbaston in August.

For Australia, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon chipped in with a wicket each.

Earlier, Stuart Broad finished with the figures of four for 51 as Australia lost five wickets for 13 runs to collapse from 260-3 to 327 all out.

James Anderson also bagged three wickets while Chris Woakes and Tom Curran took two and a wicket, respectively.

The openers – Warner and Cameron Bancroft – had given Australia a rapid start.

Warner smashed a scorching 103-run knock, including 13 boundaries and six, off 151 balls. With his innings, the opener also became the fifth fastest cricketer to cross 6,000 runs in Test cricket.

Bancroft, on the other hand, struggled initially with a barrage of short balls; however, he stayed put at the crease and supported Warner. He made a watchful 26 before being dismissed.

Skipper Steve Smith also contributed by scoring a scorching knock of 76.

The home side had already regained the Ashes urn after they thrashed the visitors by an innings and 41 runs in Perth to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.(ANI)