Bikash Singh

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Bikash still thinks cricket's a gentleman's game. And that our batsmen run away with most of the prizes.

The Enemy Camp: Of India’s agony and a relieved Cook

(Note to readers: 'The Enemy Camp' will be the tongue-in-cheek name for Yahoo! Cricket's coverage of the English press during India's tour of England.)

cook

Unbeaten Alastair Cook (182) added to India's misery as England batsmen piled 456 for three on the second day of the third Test against poor/listless/weary-looking India at Edgbaston. Cook, with his 19th century, moved ahead of David Gower, Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen in the list of Test centurions. With three more days to go, England are in complete control of the third Test and a win here will not only give them an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the four-Test series but will also replace India as No.1 team.

Vic Marks of The Guardian sums it up with 'Nowadays a Cook century is never a surprise.'

But there are signs of evolution in Cook's batting. Increasingly he cracks the ball through extra-cover, hitherto a bit of a no-go area. Off the back foot he hits in that direction with surprising power and a vertical bat. Moreover the cover drive now looks a much more natural shot for him. After about four hours at the crease he indulges himself with it.

Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Scyld Berry talks about the importance of a durable opening partnership in Test cricket.

Strauss and Cook are not an opening pair to keep opening bowlers awake and fearful through the night as Haynes and Greenidge did, and Hayden, and Sanath Jayasuriya of the third pair on the list. Strauss and Cook seek to wear down and accumulate, to take the shine off the new ball and allow their more gifted middle-order team-mates to cash in. Their style is probably in their natures; it is certainly in the nature of English cricket that opening pairs have more to cope with than their counterparts overseas.

James Lawton of The Independent on how England has moved from one challenge to another with relentless application.

They have done the great and honest thing. They have geared themselves to the challenge of fighting to be the best in the world. It is not their fault that the fight, each successive round of it, grows ever more fraudulent.

Stephen Brenkley of The Independent talks about India's fall from grace and England's show of power.

There will be some legitimate debate about the quality of India's play in this series. At all times, it has been much below what might have been reasonably expected from the team which is still, for a few more hours at least in ICC Towers, the No 1-ranked Test team.

Whatever the reasons - too much cricket in too short a time, too much time on the road, an ageing team, or, everybody's favourite, the Indian Premier League - they have been well short of the necessary. Almost as disconcerting is the suspicion that it has not exactly hurt them to the depth of their collective soul.

Paul Newman of Daily Mail writes about the carnage at Edgbaston on Day 2 and England run machine Alastair Cook.

Did I say before the game that victory here would surpass the Ashes? Sorry. Wrong. Edgbaston was curiously flat. This is England's fortress, the most atmospheric ground in the country, but the people of Birmingham know a mismatch when they see one.

England will not worry. They can only do their job meticulously and professionally and there are few more meticulous batsmen than Alastair Cook. The run machine of world cricket is back in full working order. Cook was averaging five in the series before this match as he struggled with the lack of pace in the India attack which forced him off his favoured back foot. Now he is very much, metaphorically and literally, on the front foot again.

Henry Blofeld of Daily Express blames BCCI for India's poor performance against England.

England have comprehensively outplayed India in this series and are heading deservedly for the No1 spot in the world. But where does that leave India, who are in the process of giving away the top spot? The short answer is: on their knees. Far too much cricket sanctioned by a greedy Board of Control, the inevitable injuries and cricketing old age for their greatest players have led to humiliation.

Jonathan Agnew of the BBC believes Cook will become the highest-scoring England batsman of all-time.

He could play for another 10 or 12 years if he really wants to. He is fit enough and good enough and I think he has the appetite for it. He will be the next England captain and will keep chalking off the records. The Essex opener's innings provided a lesson to the India batsmen, several of whom simply haven't shown the same application to bat themselves out of a sticky patch.

Other interesting reads -

Becoming world No 1 'easy'

'This team wants to stay together and do something special'

Disinterested Dhoni's half-baked wicketkeeping leads India astray

Not even mint-muncher Sehwag can swing things India's way

Cook century adds to India misery

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