Birmingham, Aug 12: England seems so spoilt for batting reserves that even an opener who had been struggling in the current Test series against India has found his mojo.. and how! After Alastair Cook had put on scores of 12,1,2 and 5 in four innings,the Indian attack had probably written him off as a sitting duck. But the duck has apparently morphed into a turbo-charged sea-gull, soaring to 182 not out!
He had in fact vowed before the Edgbaston Test that he would return to his heroic avatar and hasn't he taken a beleaguered Indian side entirely by surprise? From his classy willow, emerged nothing but a measured and mature performance. He showed no signs of panic or unwarranted aggression, going about his job of opening with superlative poise.
Not one to snatch the spotlight prematurely, he allowed his captain and partner Andrew Strauss take on the mantle of assaulter while he calmly bided his time and kept up his end. The occasional flash of belligerence was thrown in for good measure just to offset whatever pressure the Indian attack had garnered.
Then the free-flowing Test batsman's magic show took over with deftly-carved square drives, bludgeoning cover-drives, flicks to square leg and mid wicket and the occasional biff down the ground to round off his repertoire.
But the defining trait of Cook's innings was his ability to work up partnerships seamlessly. He shrewdly farmed the strike when a new batsman had arrived and then drew the partner into a near-competitive game.
He paced his innings so deftly that his first 50 came off 131 balls, the century off 213 deliveries faced, the 150 off 269 balls and then he signed off for the day at 182 off 339 balls, studding his knock with 26 boundaries.
Now Cook has dished up a marvelous recipe for victory while India's goose seems all but Cooked.