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Friday, December 7, 2012
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Record-breaking Cook puts Eng in command

England captain Alastair Cook celebrates his century by raising his arms on the second day of the third Test against India at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. Photo: Cricinfo

Captain Alastair Cook set a record for England Test centuries with his 23rd as the tourists assumed control of the third Test against India.

The opener passed the mark of 22 held by Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey, Geoffrey Boycott and Kevin Pietersen.

Cook made 136 not out as England reached 216 for 1 in reply to India's 316 all out at the close of second day at Eden Gardens in Kolkata yesterday.

Cook, 27, also became the youngest batsman to reach 7,000 Test runs.

The Essex left-hander reached the milestone at the age of 27 years and 347 days, knocking Sachin Tendulkar off top spot.

The India great, who has a record 15,638 Test runs, was 28 years and 193 days old when he passed the 7,000 mark.

Cook, whose Test career began with a hundred against India in Nagpur in 2006, has now scored centuries in all five of his Tests as captain.

He brought up his third ton of the series off 179 balls with a sweep for two off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin during an opening partnership of 165 with Nick Compton.

Cook also surpassed Andrew Strauss, the man he succeeded as Test captain before the India tour, to move up to ninth in the list of England's all-time highest run-scorers with 7,048. Graham Gooch holds the record with 8,900.

Cook was dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara at slip off the bowling of Zaheer Khan on 17 but did not offer a further chance in a confident and controlled innings featuring 19 fours and a six.

He and Compton, Strauss's replacement at the top of the England order, put the tourists in a strong position to go 2-1 ahead in the four-match series as they target a first victory in India since 1985.

Somerset's Compton batted circumspectly at first before opening up after tea to reach his first Test fifty.

His 137-ball knock was eventually brought to an end when he missed an attempted sweep at Pragyan Ojha and was trapped lbw.

Jonathan Trott then showed signs of playing himself into form, easing to 21 not out in an unbroken partnership of 51 with Cook.

Earlier, England made relatively light work of wrapping up the India tail as Monty Panesar had Zaheer Khan trapped lbw for six and then rearranged Ishant Sharma's stumps.

Captain Mahendra Dhoni smashed the England spinner for two sixes en route to a half-century before he was last out, fending a Steven Finn bouncer to Graeme Swann, who ran forward to take a low diving catch.

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