Thursday 22 March 2018 / 07:25 AM


Via England Cricket Media

Alastair Cook scored an epic double century to put England in command of the fourth Ashes Test with a lead of 164 runs after day three at the MCG.

Cook ended the day 244 not out with England 491/1 to become the sixth highest run scorer in Test history.

The former captain had completed his century late on day two but batted through the third day, spending a total of more than 10-and-a-half hours at the crease in his innings.

England captain Joe Root reached his half-century early in the first session but was dismissed for 61 when he top edged an attempted pull off Pat Cummins straight down Nathan Lyon’s throat at deep square leg.

It brought Dawid Malan to the crease and the new batsman made 14 before he was out lbw to Josh Hazlewood. Replays showed a thick inside edge before the ball slammed into the pad, but Malan decided against a review.

Cook continued to effortlessly accumulate runs as he approached 150 and England went in at lunch with the score 264/4.

Jonny Bairstow nicked behind to Tim Paine off Lyon for 22 just after lunch before Moeen Ali made a frantic 20 that came to an end when he smashed high to Shaun Marsh at short cover off Lyon.

Cook serenely batted on – supported by Chris Woakes – and moved on to his 11th Test score of more than 150, the most of any England player in history.

England started the last session on 360/6 and lost Woakes early for 26 when he gloved a short ball from Cummins to Paine.

Stuart Broad came to the crease and was peppered with short balls, but counter-attacked aggressively to help take England’s lead to three figures, passing fifty himself in the process.

But Broad himself knew he was the support act for Cook, who fittingly reached his double hundred with a perfect straight drive for four.

Roared on by England’s support, Cook became the highest ever run scorer against Australia at the MCG.

Broad was eventually dismissed for 56 when Usman Khawaja collected a high catch, with the umpires signalling it was taken cleanly despite the ball spilling out of his hands. But James Anderson survived the final few overs of the day to ensure Australia will have to head out into the field once again on Friday and claim one wicket before they can start eating into the significant first-innings deficit.

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