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Page last updated at 18:47 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 19:47 UK

Alastair Cook delighted by 'positive' century

Third Test, The Oval: England v Pakistan
Dates: 18-22 August Start time: 1100 BST
Coverage: Live ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave, the Red Button and BBC Sport website; live text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles; Also live on Sky Sports, with daily highlights on Five

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Cook calls for England pressure

By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport at The Oval

Alastair Cook was relieved that a more positive attitude had paid off after compiling his 13th Test century against Pakistan at The Oval.

The Essex opener had made 106 runs in eight innings this summer before coming up trumps with a crucial 110.

"I needed to be more positive in both defence and in terms of hitting the ball, said the 25-year-old.

"In terms of importance for me and the side it's up there with the best innings I've played for England."

Cook made six in England's first innings, leading many to call for him to be dropped for the final Test at Lord's next week.

BEN DIRS' BLOG

But he made the most of an early reprieve, when both Pakistan slip fielders inexplicably failed to react to an edge which flew between them, to compile a possibly place-saving innings.

His knock came from 173 balls and included 16 fours and he dominated a 116-run third-wicket partnership with Jonathan Trott, scoring 87 of those runs.

"Obviously it's been a tough couple of weeks, I've never been through a trot like that, so it was pleasing to come out and score runs when the pressure was on," added Cook.

Pakistan skipper Salman Butt praises team

"When you go through a run like that a lot of things go through your mind. It's been tough at times this series, it swung in the first two Tests and I haven't been in the best of form, which is never a nice way to be, so to score a hundred meant a lot.

"I'll have a beer later on and go home with a smile on my face."

On the manner of reaching his century, with bowler Mohammad Asif flinging the ball to the boundary for four overthrows after Cook had played a forward defensive, Cook joked that he "didn't know if Asif was trying to hit me or not".

He said: "I played a solid forward defensive and was just trying to get through the 'nervous nineties', but I'll take it.

"It was an interesting way to get to a hundred, I wished it happened all the time."

Spinner Saeed Ajmal took 4-71 for Pakistan to leave the hosts with a fragile lead of 146 at stumps and Cook said his 'doosra' delivery had been particularly difficult to deal with.

"He's a good bowler with variation. He got some excellent players out with some really good balls and his 'doosra' and off-break are hard to pick.

"Up until tea we'd played really well but conditions got cloudier and they put the ball in really good areas," he added.

"We'll try to get as many as we can on Saturday and hope Stuart Broad can get us another 20-30 runs, if that's not being too greedy.

"Our bowlers have been fantastic this summer and a couple of wickets early on and all of a sudden 140-odd will seem a long way away for the Pakistan batsmen."



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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
20 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan fightback stuns England
20 Aug 10 |  England
England v Pakistan day three photos
20 Aug 10 |  England
England face battle to save Test
19 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan take charge of Oval Test
18 Aug 10 |  England
Strauss support for Cook & Swann
17 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan in England 2010
07 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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