Trott and Cook left Australia searching for answers
By Oliver Brett
Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott set a series of records as England hit an extraordinary 517-1 on the final day of the first Ashes Test before declaring.
The match finished in an expected draw, Australia replying with 107-1 having been set 297 to win from 41 overs.
Cook's 235 not out was the sixth best Ashes score by an Englishman and he also surpassed Sir Don Bradman for the highest Test score at the Gabba.
Cook and Trott (135no) put on 329, the ninth highest England stand in history.
Australia ended a tough last couple of days on a positive note with Ricky Ponting hitting 51 not out and Shane Watson unbeaten on 41, but England will hope to take more confidence with them to the second Test at Adelaide.
Cook and Trott's partnership was the most productive by an England pairing on Australian soil and the best by any duo in Brisbane, beating the 307 produced by Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin earlier in the same match.
Having managed only one wicket throughout Sunday's play, when Andrew Strauss (110) had been stumped off part-time spinner Marcus North, Australia toiled through a further 51 overs on the last day without any further reward.
There were two more dropped catches to add to the three shelled the previous day, plus an unseemly spat between Aussie captain Ponting and the umpires when Cook was adjudged not out after Ponting had claimed a catch.
The experienced Australian had some reason to be satisfied by the end of the day, however, as he produced a clinically aggressive counter-punch, scoring at better than a run a ball before the captains shook hands on a draw 15 overs early.
With the draw the likeliest result before a ball had been bowled on Monday, the intangible aspect of England's dominance over the last two days is what the effect might be on Australia.
The hosts, with a proud record at the Gabba, had established what appeared a winning position when Hussey and Haddin gave them a first-innings lead of 221 late on day three.
But by time the first ball was sent down on the final day, they already looked badly out of sorts.
The early loss of Simon Katich to Stuart Broad just before tea only served to emphasise the scale of England's about-turn in fortunes since the start of the final session on day three.
Tea on Saturday proved to be the watershed moment in the match. Despite having taken a hammering, England took the last five Australian wickets in the final session that day for 31 runs, before Strauss and Cook survived the second new ball.
That set the stall for a stunning batting performance, with the top three in an England innings scoring centuries for the first instance since 1924.
The scoreboard at the Gabba told its own story
Cook was on 132 and Trott 54 when the final day began, the latter adding 21 to his score when Michael Clarke put down a simple slip chance off Watson.
Cook soon went on to his best score in Tests with a lovely cut off Watson, before a single to short fine-leg, facilitated by a misfield from the luckless Mitchell Johnson, gave him his maiden first-class double century.
Trott reached his second Ashes century in as many Ashes appearances on the stroke of lunch, after which Ponting indicated to the umpires he had cleanly caught Cook at short mid-wicket off Xavier Doherty with the score 457-1.
The TV replay was inconclusive and Ponting looked aggrieved, voicing his feelings to the umpires and the two English batsmen causing his side so much anguish.
There were only a handful of Australian fans watching, though the Barmy Army were in full force lapping up every misfortune that befell the hosts.
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Ponting spilled a tough chance offered by Cook, again off Watson, before - following a series of memorable lofted drives by both batsmen - Strauss called his men in, thus sparing the Australians any further punishment.
Hopes of a sensational, though hugely improbable England win, were raised when Katich tiredly nicked a catch to Strauss in the slips.
After tea, Paul Collingwood dropped Watson off Graeme Swann, a chance he should have easily snaffled at slip.
And on a wicket that appeared to get flatter and flatter despite the widening cracks, Watson and Ponting proceeded to cash in, with Kevin Pietersen given his first bowl of the series.
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