28 Dec 2017

Ashes: Cook posts MCG-record double century

8:35 pm on 28 December 2017

Alastair Cook has broken records and built a lead of 164 runs for England in the fourth Ashes Test against Australia, finishing 244 not out after he was dropped twice by Steve Smith.

Alastair Cook of England celebrating his century yesterday.

Alastair Cook of England celebrating his century yesterday. Photo: Photosport NZ

Australian captain Smith, struggling with a stomach bug, failed to stop the tourists' tail from wagging for the first time this summer.

After starting the day on 104 - with England 192-2 - Cook continued his 634-minute masterclass on Thursday, posting the highest Test score by a visiting batsman at the MCG and his highest score against Australia leaving the tourists 491-9 at stumps.

England's all-time leading run-scorer, he was dropped on 66 and 153 by Smith with the second chance coming at square leg during Thursday's post-lunch session.

They were the only lapses in concentration from the former skipper, who batted with trademark patience to frustrate the hosts on a slow pitch.

Cook is on the cusp of becoming the first Englishman to carry his bat in a Test since Mike Atherton in 1997. It would also be the first time an opener from either nation has achieved the feat in an Ashes Test since 1979.

His 100-run stand with Stuart Broad ended when third umpire Joel Wilson agonised over footage of a scrambling Usman Khawaja then deemed him to have held a catch in the deep.

Broad had been greeted with yet another bouncer barrage, belting nine boundaries in a quickfire knock of 56 that was two runs short of his highest Test score outside England.

Earlier in the series, Cook had struggled severely as Australia eased to an unassailable 3-0 lead.

England slipped to 6-307 after both Jonny Bairstow (22) and Moeen Ali (20) fell playing loose strokes to Nathan Lyon.

Cook combined with Chris Woakes in a 59-run stand then batted with Broad for just the second time in 113 Tests.

Cook and Broad, who both started the game under pressure to retain their spot in the XI, hammered home England's advantage.

England's No.11 batsman Jimmy Anderson survived 25 minutes at the crease, further demoralising the hosts.