Alastair Cook makes 180 as India A totter against England Lions
Alastair Cook scored a morale-boosting 180-run knock for England Lions against India A on the second day of the one-off unofficial Test at Worcester on Tuesday. The Lions were bowled out for 423 with left-handed batsman Nick Gubbins (73) and Dawid Malan (74) making valuable contributions. In reply, India A were 144/4 at stumps.
The former England skipper, who was unbeaten on 154 on Monday, spent valuable time batting ahead of the Test series with India.
It was the first time Cook, given a chance to warm up with the Lions during a break in the first-class County Championship, had reached three figures this year.
The 33-year-old left-handed opener, England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, completed his hundred in 173 balls.
It was Cook’s first first-class century since his monumental 244 not out against Australia in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne -- a rare England highlight in a comprehensive Ashes series loss.
Cook had made 96 in the previous game for Essex against Somerset. Apart from that, he has had just one other fifty knock for Essex in seven innings.
The 156-Test veteran had an average Test series against Pakistan earlier in the summer. He opened the series with a 70 at Lord’s, then fell for one in the second innings. In the second Test, which England won to square the series, he made just 46.
While there would be no doubt over his inclusion in the England side for the five-Test series, Wednesday will be crucial for young Rishabh Pant, who is batting on 37. He is in the middle with Ajinkya Rahane (26), a certainty in the Test squad. Pant will be fighting for the second wicketkeeper’s slot as Wriddhiman Saha is yet to get fit. Dinesh Karthik looks the first choice. Opener Prithvi Shaw had made 62 as Murali Vijay, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair failed to get into double figures.
England and India begin as five-match Test series at Edgbaston on August 1