England heading towards mammoth total against India

Kolkata, Dec 7 (IANS) England skipper Alastair Cook missed out on a deserving double century as the visitors strengthened their grip with a healthy lead of 65 runs at tea on the third day of the third cricket Test against India at the Eden Gardens here Friday.

Cook (190) and Jonathan Trott (87) perished as England scored 85 runs in the post-lunch session.

At tea, England were 381/3 with Kevin Pietersen (29) and Ian Bell (3) at the crease. Left-arm orthodox bowler Pragyan Ojha (2/94) was the only successful Indian bowler.

With the wear and tear on the pitch evident, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni started with his spin duo of Ojha and Ashwin who immediately settled into a good rhythm troubling the batsmen as the wicket afforded turn.

Cook, who was unstoppable Thursday, did not look as fluent and had another little slice of luck when a thick outside edge went wide of the slip to the thirdman boundary taking England past 300 runs in the 109th over.

Cook clobbered Ashwin for a six down the ground demonstrating England's urgency to step up the scoring rate.

Meanwhile, Ojha, who beat Trott on a few occasions, got the better of the batsman who edged one to wicket-keeper Dhoni.

Trott had looked good for his eighth Test ton and partnered Cook to amass 173 runs for the second wicket.

Mumbai Test Man of the Match Pietersen came next and Dhoni summoned Yuvraj Singh to replace Ashwin. The left-armer immediately got some turn as Pietersen inside-edged on to his pads on two occasions.

Meanwhile, an unfazed Cook continued grinding runs with occasional boundaries as he went past 500 runs in the series, only the third batsman from his country to do so in a series in India after Ken Barrington and Mike Gatting.

With Indians showing positive intent, they were immediately rewarded with some good fortune with Cook just 10 short of a double ton.

Pietersen slapped the ball into the covers and declined to run. Cook was retreating back to his ground as Virat Kohli's throw came in from square leg. He was reaching for his ground but stopped just before grounding his bat and took evasive action to avoid the ball.

The ball sailed through and shattered the stumps with the batsman short of his ground. The Indians appealed and umpire Rod Tucker took advice from the TV official before deciding the England skipper had to go.

Cook missed on his third double ton by just 10 runs. Along with West Indian great Vivian Richards and India opener Virender Sehwag, he is one of the three batsmen to get out for scores in the 290s, 190s, 90s in Tests. This was also the first time he got run out in a Test match.

In the morning session, Cook continued his dominance over the Indian bowlers as he and Trott, resuming from 216/1, went from strength to strength crossing personal milestones.

Cook notched up his 150 in the 89th over as England went past 250 runs. Trott hit consecutive fours off pacer Zaheer Khan on way to completing his 13th Test 50 in 63 innings. The duo scored 80 of 32 overs in the day's opening session.

Pacer Ishant Sharma bent his back and even made Cook, batting at 156, lob a catch back to him but ultimately he could not hold on to the opportunity. This was the second reprieve for the southpaw as he was dropped at first slip by Cheteswar Pujara when on 17.

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