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|First Investec Test, Edgbaston, day two|
|England 514-8 dec: Cook 243, Root 136, Malan 65, Chase 4-113|
|West Indies 44-1|
|West Indies trail by 470 runs|
Alastair Cook remorselessly churned out 243 as England tightened their grip on West Indies on day two of the day-night Test at Edgbaston.
Cook batted for almost 10 hours, his eventual dismissal prompting England’s declaration at 514-8.
Dawid Malan, looking to secure a place at number five, scored 65, his maiden Test half-century.
West Indies had reached 44-1, 470 behind, when rain forced the players off with 26 overs left to bowl.
That was a decent effort from the tourists, who spent a day and a half in the field and were facing the pink ball in cold, cloudy conditions.
Still, West Indies, who have not won a Test in the UK since 2000, face a huge task simply to avoid the follow-on.
Play will start half an hour earlier than scheduled at 13:30 BST on the remaining three days Saturday to make up for the lost overs.
Cook goes big
Cook was in good touch in the 3-1 series win over South Africa, but did not make the big score he seemed capable of.
That continued a trend in the former captain’s batting that dates back for four years – in his previous 98 innings he had converted only five of his 31 half-centuries into hundreds.
Here, he picked up from his overnight 153 and methodically gorged himself on a tame West Indies attack that at least showed some improvement from the first day.
Whereas Cook played uncharacteristic cover drives on Thursday, his Friday accumulation was with more familiar cuts and clips off the pads. He barely scored a run down the ground.
He looked to up the pace after lunch, an England plan that saw Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali fall cheaply.
Cook finally made a misjudgement to play across the line to Roston Chase, the off-spinner earning an lbw decision on review for figures of 4-113.
What might have been for Malan
Middlesex’s Malan managed only 35 runs in two Tests against South Africa and was in need of a score to press his claim for a place on this winter’s Ashes tour to Australia.
He survived against the second new ball and under lights on day one, albeit after being dropped on two, and resumed on 28 when England started the day on 348-3.
The left-hander played attractive drives both through and over cover, as well as collecting runs behind square on the leg side.
Malan extended his partnership with Cook to 162 and had the opportunity for a Test century when he edged a good delivery from Chase to slip.
Three figures would perhaps have guaranteed him a trip down under but, as it is, he may well need another score in this three-match series.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special: “Malan will be delighted, but today was a perfect opportunity for him to get a big score. There were runs for the taking.”
Windies survive with some help
England declared just as the clouds began to close in and fears that West Indies could capitulate were enhanced when Kraigg Brathwaite edged James Anderson behind without a run on the board.
However, Kieran Powell and debutant Kyle Hope found a way to survive, although both needed some good fortune.
Powell was reprieved by Stokes at gully on two, and Hope survived a tough chance that barely carried to Moeen at third slip, both off Stuart Broad.
Rain had been forecast for earlier in the day, but when it arrived just before 19:30 it quickly became apparent that no further play would be possible.
Not that it dampened the spirits of a large group who gathered at the back of the Hollies Stand, singing the loudest songs of the day even after the abandonment came at 20:10.
‘Today was all about Alastair Cook’ – what they said
Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan on TMS: “Today was all about Alastair Cook and the way in which he occupied the crease. When you have players of his quality, they never miss out.
“Full credit to West Indies’ batsmen – they coped with Anderson. Broad didn’t find his rhythm – he bowled short and wide.”
Former West Indies fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose on TMS: “The West Indies bowlers weren’t penetrative enough on day one. I didn’t see any aggression. They ran into a road block in Root and Cook.
“It’s not going to be easy for West Indies. They will have to bat well and try to avoid the follow-on – that will be key. If they don’t, they will be in trouble.”
The stats you may have missed
- Cook’s 243 is the fifth highest Test score at Edgbaston and the fifth highest against West Indies
- In reaching 155, Cook became the leading run-scorer in Tests at Edgbaston, overtaking David Gower’s tally of 676
- Cook has passed 200 four times in Test cricket, level with Len Hutton and behind only Walter Hammond’s seven among England batsmen
- Cook is the first England opener to score a double century in the first innings of a Test since Graham Gooch’s 33 against India in 1990
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