English captain Alastair Cook drew level with the legendary Sir Donald Bradman on 29 Test centuries on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford.
The left-handed batsman completed his century in only 157 balls before being bowled by pacer Mohammad Amir on the stroke of tea for a well-made 105. Cook played out a testing morning spell by Amir and then took full advantage of a good batting pitch to make his 50th Test match as captain a memorable one.After losing Alex Hales cheaply, Cook shared a partnership of 185 with Joe Root.
Meanwhile, Root struck his 10th hundred – and first at number three – before closing Friday’s play on 141 not out, with Chris Woakes at the other end.
After winning a good toss, English batsmen took full advantage of a pitch that had nothing to offer to the bowler and ended the day in a strong position with 314 for 4. Apart from Mohammad Amir, who took two wickets, no other bowler was able to trouble the English batsmen.
While England is in a strong position with the help of Root and Cook’s centuries, the form of other batsmen will worry England’s team management. Alex Hales, James Vince, and Gary Ballance failed once again with the bat. After having a poor Test at Lord’s, they had a chance to get some useful runs under their belt on a good batting pitch but they squandered their chance and the pressure to perform just keeps on increasing on them.
Meanwhile,Cook, who missed out on his hundred in the last Test when he fell short of his ton by 19 runs, will now be looking to No 30. Australia’s Matthew Hayden and Shivnarine Chanderpaul of West Indies are next for Cook on 30, while Pakistan’s Younis Khan is on 31.