Birmingham: Alastair Cook hit a career best 294 as England amassed their third-highest total of 710 for seven declared against a weary-looking India on day three of the third test on Friday.
India’s plight then became even more desperate when opener Virender Sehwag was out to the second ball of his team’s second innings to seal a ‘king pair´. The Indians were 35 for one by the close and trailed England by 451 runs as Gautam Gambhir was 14 not out and Rahul Dravid had 18.
England are on course for the victory that would give them an unassailable 3-0 lead in the four-match series and allow them to climb to the top of the world rankings at India’s expense.
Sehwag, playing his first test in eight months after recovering from shoulder surgery, was out off his first ball for the second time in the match when he played a loose shot at a James Anderson delivery and edged to Andrew Strauss at first slip.
The wicket on the second ball of India’s reply summed up another dreadful day for them, as they seek to bat for most of the last two days in order to save the match.
Left-handed opener Cook batted for almost 12 hours and bettered his previous test-best 235 not out against Australia in Brisbane , 2010.
Eoin Morgan made 104 and Tim Bresnan was unbeaten on 53 when Strauss declared the innings following Cook’s dismissal.
It was Cook’s second double century in tests and this latest effort was the second-longest test innings by an England batsman, surpassing Ken Barrington’s 256 in 683 minutes. Only Len Hutton has batted longer, during his English record score of 364.
Batting conditions were not all that favourable with high humidity and dark clouds overhead. India bowled their spinners for most of the afternoon rather than tire their three pace bowlers needlessly in a seemingly hopeless situation as the day drifted slowly.
The teams, who lost time to rain in the morning session, were also interrupted for 16 minutes in the afternoon by bad light. The new permanent floodlights at Edgbaston failed to work after the umpires had requested their usage.
The 25,000 capacity crowd booed as the players left the field while the lights flickered but failed to switch on following an earlier power cut.
It was only temporary respite for India from Cook’s run-feast, though, as he added 222 with Morgan, who was dropped twice on Thursday.Morgan was finally caught at cover by Sehwag.
It was England’s eighth century stand in the series. India have had just the one century partnership, emphasising the gulf between the teams.
Cook was circumspect for most of the day, managing just three boundaries in the first two sessions in an innings that became more turgid as the day went on.
Ravi Bopara raised the team’s 600 with a slashed cut for four off a thick edge from Amit Mishra but he was trapped lbw by the same bowler for seven while pushing down the wrong line.
Matt Prior was the third man out on Friday, top-edging a sweep off Mishra to Sachin Tendulkar at fine leg for five.
Bresnan raised the team’s 700 and his half-century with a six off Ishant Sharma over mid-on, before Cook flat-batted a square drive to Raina at a deep cover point off Sharma to fall just six runs short of a triple century.