Cook century gives England advantage on second day

Alastair Cook scored an unbeaten century on day two
Alastair Cook scored an unbeaten century on day two

Australia 327 (Warner 103) v
England 192-2 (Cook 104no)
Fourth Test, Melbourne, day two

After England made a tremendous comeback to dismiss Australia for 327, Alastair Cook scored an unbeaten century to help the visitors knock down 192 runs off the deficit with just two wickets down at stumps on day two of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.

This was also Cook's fifth Ashes century - all coming in Australia and 30th opening the batting that saw him level Matthew Hayden's tally. Only Sunil Gavaskar with 33 tons as an opener is now in front of Cook.

An exquisite drive from Cook (104 not out) in the third over signalled his intention as he and Mark Stoneman (15) successfully kept the Australian new ball bowlers quiet scoring 35 runs without a wicket in the first 11 overs.

Nathan Lyon (1-44), who was introduced early into the attack once again proved handy against the left-handers as he had Stoneman caught off his own bowling in the 12th over but Cook and James Vince (17) continued to press to take England to 72 for one at tea.

On resumption, Vince's promising innings came to an end when he edged a Josh Hazlewood (1-39) delivery behind the stumps but Cook went on to notch his 56th Test fifty with a boundary in the 60th over.

The runs continued to flow from Cook's blade but Australia did have a chance when skipper Steven Smith dropped him in the slips off Mitchell Marsh (0-17) in the 34th over but he and Joe Root (49 not out) ensured England finished the day strong with a score of 192 for two with their unbeaten 112 run stand.

Cook's 32nd Test century came in the final over of the day when he cracked a pull shot off Smith (0-11). England still trail Australia by 135 runs with eight wickets in hand.

Earlier, Australia resumed the day with a score of 244 for three but with Smith (76) dismissed early after being castled by debutant Tom Curran (1-65) and Chris Woakes (2-72) shortly following with the wicket of Mitchell Marsh (9), it gave the visitors a positive start to the day.

Shaun Marsh (61) went on to complete his fifty while Tim Paine (24) supported him briefly but Stuart Broad (4-51) came back strong to bowl out Australia for 327 runs.

Broad, Anderson and Woakes combined picked nine wickets while Curran snared the key wicket of Smith.

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