Thursday 22 March 2018 / 07:26 AM


Via England Cricket Media

Alastair Cook scored a brilliant century as England took pole position in the Boxing Day Ashes Test in Melbourne.

The Three Lions opener reached his 32nd Test hundred in the final over of the day as the tourists closed on 192/2, trailing Australia by 135 runs.

Australia had been bowled out earlier in the day for 327 as Stuart Broad took 4/51.

Cook will resume on 104 not out on day three alongside captain Joe Root, who is 49 not out overnight.

Australia started the day on 244/3 but were pegged back as England took five wickets in the morning session.

Having been denied his first Test wicket on day one by a no-ball, Tom Curran claimed his first Test dismissal as Australia captain Steve Smith dragged on to the stumps for 76.

It started the ball rolling as, for the first time in the series, England were able to rip through Australia’s middle order relatively cheaply.

Mitchell Marsh (9) and Tim Paine (24) were dismissed in the same manner as Smith – off Chris Woakes and James Anderson respectively – either side of Stuart Broad removing Shaun Marsh lbw for 61 with the decision given on review.

Broad then took the wicket of Jackson Bird lbw for four as Australia ended the first session on 326/8.

The hosts were only able to add one more run as they were quickly bowled out for 327 after lunch.

First Pat Cummins edged to Cook at first slip off Broad before Anderson wrapped up the innings when he trapped Nathan Lyon in front of the stumps.

England lost Mark Stoneman for 15 as Lyon took an excellent high return catch but England made a solid start with the bat to go in on 72/1 at tea.

James Vince was dismissed on lbw by Josh Hazlewood for 17. Technology showed an inside edge from the England batsman before the ball hit his pad but he declined a review.

By then, Cook had surpassed his previous top score for the series of 37 and moved on to fifty – his first of the series and 56th in Tests – in his search for a first Test century in Australia since the victorious 2010/11 tour.

Cook was given a reprieve when he was dropped by Smith at first slip on 66 and the former England captain went on to take his partnership with Root to more than 100.

Cook looked as though he would have to settle for a not out score in the 90s overnight, but smashed two fours in the final over of the day off Smith to bring up a brilliant 32nd Test century, becoming the first Englishman to score Test centuries at all five Test grounds in Australia.

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