Cook's unbeaten double century puts England in command
Australia 327 (Warner 103) v
England 491-9 (Cook 244no)
Fourth Test, Melbourne, day three
Alastair Cook continued his masterclass with an unbeaten 244 run knock as England took control of the fourth Test in Melbourne after finishing day three with a score of 491 for nine at stumps thereby stretching their first innings lead to 164 runs over Australia.
In the process, Cook has reached 11956 runs in Tests and needs 44 more to become the sixth batsman to reach the 12,000 milestone.
Earlier, England resumed the day with a score of 192 for two. Cook entered the game with not even a fifty in his last 10 innings but dominated the proceedings having reached his century at the end of the second day.
Earlier, it was England skipper Joe Root (61), who reached his half-century - his 35th in Tests. However, his 138-run stand with Cook ended when he was caught by Nathan Lyon (3-109) at deep square leg to give Pat Cummins (3-117) his first wicket. In fact, Cummins had dismissed Root all four times in the first innings in this series.
Dawid Malan (14) started the innings with a streaky boundary and just when he started to look confident with back to back fours in the 73rd over, he was trapped LBW by Josh Hazlewood (3-95) in the first delivery with the second new ball. The replays indicated faint edge on Malan's bat before it struck the bat but he failed to use a review.
England went into lunch with a score of 264 for four with Cook firmly holding one end and Jonny Bairstow (22) looking positive at the other end.
Lyon made an impact straightaway in the second session when he had Bairstow caught behind but Moeen Ali (20) straightaway attacked the Australian bowlers hitting two boundaries and a six in his 14-ball cameo. However, he played one too many shots and was caught at backward point to give Lyon his third wicket.
Cook completed his 150-run mark with a swift hook shot levelling Hobbs, Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara's tally of three scores of 150 or more in Australia. With Chris Woakes (26) providing solid support at the other end, England quietly went past Australia's tally and soon went on to claim a solid lead. They went in to team with a score of 360 for six, adding 96 runs in the session and losing just two wickets.
Cummins once again provided Australia a respire with the wicket of Woakes in the second over of the final session and few overs later Tom Curran (4) edged one behind the stumps off Hazlewood.
Nevertheless, Stuart Broad (56) provided the right impetus to the innings with he and Cook helping England cross the 400-run mark with the former England captain bringing his fifth 200 in Tests with a boundary. Cook now has levelled Grame Smith's tally of five double hundreds by an opener.
Broad struck the second six of the innings when he attacked Lyon and the lead swelled past the 100-run mark. Meanwhile, Cook went past Viv Richards' highest score of 208 which is the most for a visiting batsman at MCG.
Broad's fifty came off just 59 deliveries before he was controversially given out when he was caught at third man by Usman Khawaja. The third umpire went with the soft signal out as there was no proper conclusive evidence. It also ended England's highest eighth wicket stand at MCG.
Cook along with James Anderson (0 not out) ensured England reached 491 for nine at stumps, taking their lead to massive 164 runs.
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