Captain's 26th Test hundred guides team to 240 for 7 against the West Indies at stumps on first day
On the opening day of the final Test against the West Indies at the Kensington Oval, Alastair Cook’s 26th Test hundred spared England the blushes as it reached 240 for 7 at stumps on Friday (May 1).
Having been dismissed off the last ball of the day for 105 off 266 balls, his innings lasted 315 minutes. His century marked the 100th Test century scored on the Caribbean’s oldest international ground, dating back to the first-ever Test match in the region, against England in 1930.
After opting to bat, England was reduced to 38 for 3 in the morning session. Cook then shared a 98-run stand for the fifth wicket with Moeen Ali as England dominated proceedings in that period. However, Ali was run out for 58 for the second time in the series.
Cook then scored his century late in the day - his first hundred since May 2013 - with a boundary off Shannon Gabriel. Gabriel, operating with the new ball soon dismissed Ben Stokes before Cook hit a loose shot in the final over of the day to hand Denesh Ramdin a catch off Marlon Samuels, thus ending his steely innings.
In the morning, Jason Holder dispelled doubts about his fitness with two important wickets after Shannon Gabriel had exploited Jonathan Trott’s vulnerability to fast, short-pitched bowling.
Trott, who returned to the England side in this series after 17 months out of the international game, fended at a lifting delivery from Gabriel for Veerasammy Permaul to dive forward and take a catch at forward short-leg.
Meanwhile, Holder, who was stretchered off the field on the last day of the second Test in Grenada a week back when he appeared to turn over his left ankle while bowling, looked in great shape. Playing on his home ground, he uprooted Gary Ballance’s middle stump and then got Ian Bell with a slower delivery to finish a caught-and-bowled dismissal before the batsman had gotten off the mark.
Joe Root, coming off an unbeaten 182 in the previous Test, scored 33 off 35 balls before edging a delivery from Permaul Ramdin.
England leads the three-match series 1-0 after winning the second Test in Grenada by nine wickets while the opening game in Antigua ended in a draw.
To see the full scorecard of this match, please click here.