Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
---------------
CHOOSE A SPORT
RELATED BBC SITES
Last Updated: Sunday, 17 December 2006, 09:50 GMT
Cook ton keeps Australia waiting
THIRD TEST, PERTH, DAY FOUR (CLOSE):
AUSTRALIA 244 & 527-5 dec v ENGLAND 215 & 265-5

By Anna Thompson

Cook and Warne
Shane Warne applauds Alastair Cook's first Ashes century

England's Alastair Cook hit a defiant first Ashes century but Australia still look set to regain the Ashes after two wickets fell late on day four in Perth.

Cook batted heroically but finally went for 116 and then nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard was out for a duck in the same Glenn McGrath over at the Waca.

England closed the day on 265-5, still needing 292 for a world record victory.

Earlier, Ian Bell and Cook had put on 170 before Bell fell for 87 just before tea and Paul Collingwood went for five.

Cook and Kevin Pietersen looked as though they were going to see out the final session and set up an amazing final day as England dared to believe they could pull off the impossible and win the match.

But veteran McGrath had other ideas with just three overs left.

He tempted a tired Cook to play at a ball just outside the off-stump and the left-hander edged it to wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist to depart after occupying the crease for six and a half hours.

606: DEBATE
NN

Hoggard lasted just two balls before McGrath bowled him for a duck with a yorker, forcing captain Andrew Flintoff to the crease.

And he endured a nervy two overs, but he reached stumps two not out with Pietersen unbeaten on 37.

Having battled so hard for most of the day, it was disappointing the loss of the late wickets probably meant England would not be able to stave off defeat.

Cook, playing his 12th Test, was already the first England player to score three tons before his 22nd birthday - now he made it four.

But that certainly was not on his mind when he and Bell had resumed England's innings on 19-1.

They were well aware it was time at the crease rather than chasing runs that was needed if England were to keep alive their hopes of retaining the Ashes.

They survived nearly two sessions with a mixture of blocking and playing aggressive shots off the poorer deliveries.

Ian Bell batting in Perth
Bell batted positively but fell shortly before the tea interval

Stuart Clark, who has been Australia's best bowler in the series, forced Bell into his first false shot which was edged just short of the slip cordon.

Bell looked more assured than Cook facing leg-spinner Shane Warne and they easily surpassed England's previous highest second-wicket partnership of the series, a paltry 38.

Australia grew increasingly annoyed after lunch.

By mid-afternoon they had resorted to bully-boy appealing tactics, Warne especially.

He bowled all session from the North end, but umpire Rudi Koertzen stood his ground, justifiably so according to television replays.

Bell had a let-off on 73 when he edged Brett Lee behind but Gilchrist uncharacteristically failed to keep hold.

However, Bell's gallant innings was soon over when Warne finally got his man, his 696th Test victim, Justin Langer taking a regulation catch at short extra cover off a loose drive.

Bell had occupied the crease for 234 minutes, hitting eight fours and two sixes.

The wicket visibly lifted Australia but set England hearts fluttering just as they were starting to think the unthinkable could happen.

The belief in successfully chasing down the biggest total started to wane when Collingwood went in the final session.

He had never looked comfortable at the crease and was out for five off 36 balls feathering a Clark off-cutter to Gilchrist.

And brilliant bowling by Australia in the final 15 minutes swung it back in the hosts' favour as they attempted to win the Ashes back at the earliest opportunity.



SEE ALSO
Panesar makes dream Ashes debut
14 Dec 06 |  England


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

BBC PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us