England v South Africa: Alastair Cook pleased with century

Alastair Cook admits his joy at hitting an unbeaten 114 as England finish the first day of the first Test against South Africa on 267-3

By William Roe
alastair cook
Alastair Cook hit an unbeaten 114 on Day One of the First Test Photo: The Sport Review

alastair cook

Alastair Cook admitted his delight after hitting a 20th Test century as England finished in a dominant position of 267-3 on the opening day of the first Test against South Africa.

“It was a slow wicket today and I had to work hard for my runs. It’s nice to start well and go on and have a good day for England,” he told BBC Sport.

“As a batter you always feel under pressure and it can be difficult to settle, but I was happy with my performance.”

The Essex left-hander moved to joint fifth in England’s all-time list of century makers with an accomplished 114 not out at the Oval.

The tourists started strongly, with Morne Morkel dismissing captain Andrew Strauss lbw, on review, for a duck in the first over – the Proteas bowler coming round the wicket to the England skipper, who has struggled in the past with that line against South Africa.

At 0-1, England looked in trouble, but as the sun started to shine so did England’s total. Cook, joined by Jonathan Trott in his first home series against his native country, went about their business steadily to reach 70-1 at lunch.

After the interval, the home side went from strength to strength as South Africa’s fearsome bowling attack was ineffectual. World number one bowler Dale Steyn had a poor day and at tea both Cook and Trott had half centuries.

But Trott went for 71, caught behind driving at a wide one, to give Morkel his second wicket of the day and bring Kevin Pietersen to the crease.

Cook brought up his 20th Test century, one of his best, with a nudge of the back foot against spinner Imran Tahir – who had a poor day on a slow pitch.

With just ten overs to go till the end of play, Pietersen went after a Jacques Kallis bouncer and was caught behind for 42. Entertaining, yes, but surely Strauss would have wanted his game changing batsman to see it through to the close.

Ian Bell endured a tricky spell against Steyn, who got movement both ways with the second new ball, but the Warwickshire batsmen came through unscathed and will join Cook at the crease for the second day’s play on Friday.

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