Ind vs Eng: Cook leads England fightback, visitors wipe off deficit
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The duo batted resolutely even as Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni constantly shuffled his bowling attack that lacked the bite of the first innings.
India can still come back strongly with a few quick blows tomorrow morning and press for victory on a track which is offering slow turn.
But the day belonged entirely to Cook after a couple of quick blows by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and wickets off successive balls by pacer Umesh Yadav on either side of lunch. Prior, on the other hand, played the ideal foil to his captain.
It was the sixth 150-plus score by Cook who had scored a century on debut in Nagpur in 2006. His other three-figure effort against India (294) was made at Edgbaston in the last series between the two teams in 2011.
Cook also became the eighth English batsman to score more than one hundred on Indian soil, by joining the ranks of Ken Barrington (3), Andrew Strauss (3), Colin Cowdrey (2), Tony Greig (2), Mike Gatting (2), Ian Botham (2) and Paul Collingwood (2).
The Indian bowlers toiled hard throughout the day against the resolute England skipper and, after lunch, against his more aggressive partner Prior without success.
Cook's composure and patience was creditable right through and he hardly played a false shot.
While Ojha was easily the more impressive of the two Indian spinners, getting some bite with his flighted deliveries, Ashwin bowled mostly flat through the air but was also guilty of not maintaining a tight line outside the off. Ojha ended the day with figures of 2 for 102 in 44 overs to add to his 5-45 of the first innings while Ashwin, who got three in the first innings, went wicket-less in his 41 overs in which he gave away 104 runs.
Yadav, another successful bowler of the day, had 2 for 60 in 19 overs. Zaheer Khan bowled economically, giving away 38 runs in 18 overs for the wicket of opener Nick Compton in the first session.