Ashes: Strauss and Cook hit centuries as England fight back
Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook both hit centuries as England fought back on day four of the first Test in Brisbane.
England began the day on 19-0 facing a real fight to avoid defeat. Yet 86 overs later the scorecard made for very different reading after a dominating day for the England batsmen.
Australia started in complete control but a superb partnership of 188 from Strauss (110) and Cook (132*) loosened their stranglehold.
Jonathan Trott (58*) and Cook also shared a century partnership to take England into an 88-run lead at the close.
Faced with a monumental task Strauss and Cook played aggressively from the start. Strauss continually found the boundary with his favoured cut shot that had led to his dismissal in the opening over on day one as the pair took the score past the 50 mark.
Mitchell Johnson did not improve his overall match performance leaking runs to Cook who dominated on the back foot.
And the England captain reached his 22nd Test 50 shortly before he and Cook’s partnership passed 100. After his stunning first innings efforts Peter Siddle was reintroduced and immediately caused problems for the England batsmen.
When the partnership reached 115, Strauss and Cook took the accolade of the highest opening partnership for England at Brisbane. Johnson then compounded his miserable morning by dropping a simple catch at mid off to the despair of Xavier Doherty.
Cook then joined his captain in notching up his 50 – the 24th of his Test career as England reached lunch on 135-0.
The confident run continued after lunch with Strauss sending Doherty down the ground. He then began to appear unsettled against Johnson as he spliced a pull shot and was then turned around in consecutive balls.
But Strauss and Cook broke yet another record when their partnership reached 160, surpassing Graeme Hick and Graeme Thorpe to earn the highest ever partnership for England in Brisbane.
The England captain honed in on his ton and brought up his 19th Test match 100 by carving another cut shot through backward point.
The introduction of Marcus North slowed the scoring before Strauss’s dismissal. North teased the England centurion out of his crease and Brad Haddin made no mistake in whipping off the bails.
Jonathan Trott took to the field as the pair pushed towards a lead and Cook then played his way to his 12th Test century.
The pair dominated the rest of the day and Trott was soon enjoying the Gabba applause as he scored his fifth Test 50 before bad light brought the day to a premature end.
The tourists will aim to increase their lead quickly and leave themselves time to put Australia under pressure on a worn day five wicket.