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Cook hits century in draw
December 10, 2006 19:13 IST
Opener Alastair Cook hit an unbeaten century for England, who enjoyed a valuable day of batting practice before the third Ashes Test in their drawn tour match against Western Australia on Sunday.
Schedule: England in Australia
Cook, who retired on 106 and Andrew Strauss (88) posted a 183-run stand, while reserve batsman Ed Joyce made a stylish 73 to lead England to 356 for five in response to WA's 322 for eight declared in the two-day contest.
Wicketkeeper Chris Read chipped in with an unbeaten 59 to pile the pressure on Geraint Jones, whose dismal run with the bat continued when he was dismissed for a first-ball duck.
However, England will be encouraged to see a return to form for their opening pair, who were both untroubled by WA's modest pace attack until spinner Aaron Heal broke the partnership when he bowled Strauss attempting a sweep.
Jones, who played as a batsman only, lasted just one ball to put Heal on a hat-trick but Joyce survived and batted with confidence to hit nine boundaries in his 97-ball innings.
Cook brought up his century just before tea and retired at the break so Read could bat. The keeper made the most of his opportunity with two sixes and five boundaries alongside his three catches in the home side's innings.
Former skipper Michael Vaughan did not bat despite being listed at number four at the start of the innings.
On the bowling front, pacemen James Anderson (three for 53) and Sajid Mahmood (two for 67) were both solid and Steve Harmison showed some signs of improved form despite figures of one for 99.
Monty Panesar (one for 69) extracted good turn to pose more of a threat than Ashley Giles (none for 33) in the bowl-off between the spinners, with the latter not helping his cause before Thursday's third Test by scoring just four runs.
Australia lead the five-match series 2-0 after victories in Brisbane and Adelaide. The home side can reclaim the Ashes with one more victory.