Kolkata, Dec 6: Alastair Cook hit his third Test century of the series in as many matches to power England into a commanding position against India on the second day of third Test on Thursday. Cook was unbeaten on 136 as England closed the day at 216/1 in 73 overs in reply to India's 316 at Eden Gardens.
It was a day to remember for the left-handed Cook. With his 23rd Test ton, he became the highest century-maker for England. Also he is now the youngest batsman in Test history to score 7,000 runs. Add to that, this was his fifth successive hundred as captain.
Cook broke Sachin Tendulkar's record for youngest to 7,000. The opener aged 27 years and 347 days beat Tendulkar's feat of 28 years and 193 days.
Cook batted for 236 balls and hit 19 fours and a six. Barring that reprieve on 17 from Cheteshwar Pujara at slips, he was untroubled at the crease. Indian bowlers kept toiling but could not remove Cook. In this series, he is now the leading run scorer with 493. The next best is Pujara with 404.
The man from Essex, who is known as "Chef" has put a winning recipe for his team. His appetite for runs is well known and yet again it was on display. He drove and swept well during his innings.
In this four-match series, Cook started off with 41 and 176 in first Test. He made 122 and 18 not out in the next Test and again he has a three-figure mark now.
Cook and Nick Compton (57), who was unlucky to be given out LBW by Rod Tucker off Pragyan Ojha, added 165 runs for the first wicket. Right-handed Compton got to his maiden Test fifty in third match.
With this strong foundation of 216/1, England are on course for a big score. Jonathan Trott, with his series best of 21 not out, has a perfect platform to return to form. And there is Kevin Pietersen waiting in the pavilion.
The pitch was well suited for batting and it might be the same tomorrow as well. India have their backs to the wall and they need a huge effort from bowlers to get them out of the woods. Or else England will run away with the game.
At Tea, England 121/0
Openers Cook and Compton were involved in a century partnership to put England in control.
At tea, Cook (80 not out) and Compton (41 not out) had powered the visitors to 121/0 in 42 overs. England scored 99 runs (31 overs) in this session without losing a wicket.
Captain Cook continued his purple patch in the series to move to the top of the leading run scorers list. Cook has more than 400 runs now.
The left-hander made India pay for a dropped catch. Cheteshwar Pujara, at first slip, grassed a low catch from Cook when he was on 17, off Zaheer Khan.
Barring that chance offered, England batsmen were hardly troubled by the bowlers. However, soon after lunch, Zaheer and Ishant Sharma enjoyed a brief good spell.
Pragyan Ojha, who was introduced in the 26th over, and R Ashwin, did not have much joy on a pitch conducive for batting.
At lunch, India 316 all out, England 22/0
MS Dhoni scored a half century to take India past 300 in the morning session. He was the last man out as India were bowled out for 316 in 105 overs. At lunch, England openers Cook (17) and Compton (5) remained unbeaten with score on 22/0 in 11 overs.
India added 43 runs in 15 overs in just more one hour of play on the second day at Eden Gardens. For England, Monty Panesar finished with four wickets. Dhoni scored 52. Today, India lost overnight batsman Zaheer Khan early, trapped LBW by Panesar. Ishant Sharma was cleaned up by Panesar soon and Dhoni added 20 runs with Pragyan Ojha.
Dhoni got his half century with a boundary but was dismissed next ball by Steven Finn bouncer, caught by Graeme Swann at slip. This was Dhoni's 27th Test fifty. He hit five fours and two sixes in his 114-ball stay.
Start of day update
India resumed batting on day two of the third Test against England at Eden Gardens here on Thursday. India began the day on 273/7.
India will rely on captain MS Dhoni to get few more runs and go past 300. He is with Zaheer Khan. With the second new ball only four overs old, England will hoping that they can quickly wrap up the innings with this newish cherry.
On Wednesday, Sachin Tendulkar was the top scorer for India with 76. Gautam Gambhir made 60. James Anderson took three wickets.
The four-match series stands at 1-1.