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Alarm Bell rings as Cook fires century

A dominant Alastair Cook scored 189 and Ian Bell his first century against Australia as England took a commanding first innings lead of 208 on the third day of the fifth Ashes Test today. Scorecard | A look at the century man | What the controversy is all about| Contentious catches

cricket Updated: Jan 06, 2011 07:42 IST

A dominant Alastair Cook scored 189 and Ian Bell his first century against Australia as England took a commanding first innings lead of 208 on the third day of the fifth Ashes Test on Wednesday.

England, who need just to draw the match to secure a first series win in Australia in 24 years having already retained the Ashes, were on 488-7 with Matt Prior (54) and Tim Bresnan (0) at the crease when bad light stopped play.

Cook had been given a rousing standing ovation by the crowd after taking his series tally to 766 runs in five Tests, making him the second-most prolific English batsman in an Ashes series after Wally Hammond, who made 905 in 1928-29.

"It's been an amazing five-six weeks for us and for me personally," Cook told reporters.

"Its great to be on the crest of a wave and enjoying it.

Australia, who felt they should have had Bell out for 67, did not lack effort in the field but their bowlers asked too few questions of the batsmen on a deadening track and their hopes of squaring the series were fading away in the early evening gloom. Those hopes were still high at the start of the day when the tourists resumed on 167-3 and Peter Siddle quickly picked up the wicket of nightwatchman Jimmy Anderson for one.

At the other end, though, was the outstanding batsman of the series and Cook, who had started on 61, was soon accelerating towards his third century of the series.

By the time he was caught low in the gully by Mike Hussey off Shane Watson just after tea, England had overhauled Australia's first innings tally of 280 and were 100 runs ahead with four wickets in hand.

Most of the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground were clad in pink in honour of the breast cancer foundation started by test bowling great Glenn McGrath and his late wife Jane but the English batsmen were in no mood for charity.

Mixed reception

Bell picked up where Cook had let off and he finally scored his first Test century in 31 innings against the Australians but there were boos mixed with cheers as he doffed his helmet.

The 29-year-old had been given out caught behind on 67 when the ball went between bat and pad but he stood his ground and was reprieved when the television review England demanded proved inconclusive.

The boos again mixed with cheers when Bell departed for 115 shortly before the end of the day after being caught by Michael Clarke off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson.