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Ashes: Alastair Cook and Ian Bell make Australia suffer

Fifth Ashes Test: Australia 280 v England 488-7 (stumps, day three)
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground Resumes: 2300 GMT Coverage: Live on Test Match Special (from 2245 GMT) on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW & online; TMS highlights online (UK only) and day's review on the TMS podcast; live text on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4
Match scorecard

Alastair Cook
Cook has produced an extraordinary sequence of scores

By Oliver Brett

Alastair Cook made 189 for an aggregate of 766 series runs and Ian Bell (115) hit his first Ashes ton as England ran riot on day three of the final Test.

With Australia needing to win to avoid losing the series, their hopes looked bleak as the tourists reached 488-7.

That gave England a lead of 208 at stumps and represented a fine day's work from a morning start of 167-3.

The only blemish was the latest in a long line of failures for Paul Collingwood, who was out for 13.

The 34-year-old has an average of 15.54 in his last 10 Test matches and may not get a chance to remedy it in the second innings.

Cook, 61 not out at the start of what always appeared a pivotal day, put on 154 with Bell, a Sydney Cricket Ground record for an England sixth-wicket pair, before the latter added 107 with Matt Prior (54 not out).

For much of the day, statisticians looked on as Cook batted with his now customary combination of high skill, concentration and patience to surpass the series hauls of various exalted batsmen from the past.

In England terms, the likes of John Edrich, Geoff Boycott, Graham Gooch and Denis Compton were nonchalantly overtaken. With only Wally Hammond - who hit 905 in the 1928/29 Ashes - left to conquer, Cook finally edged a tired drive to gully off Shane Watson after tea.

But by then Australia already trailed by 100 runs and were barely in the game.

It was by far the best batting day of the match, with blue skies overhead for Jane McGrath Day. The SCG and many of its patrons were kitted out in pink in memory of former Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath's late wife, who died after a lengthy battle against breast cancer in 2008.

England lost night-watchman James Anderson to Peter Siddle early on and there were one or two awkward moments for Collingwood when he first came in, a gloved prod off Mitchell Johnson just evading short-leg.

Ian Bell
Bell had two fortunate moments after passing 50

Cook had a couple of dicey moments too, edging Watson just short of slip and then, on 99, watched as Phillip Hughes claimed a catch at short-leg off Michael Beer. However, neither Cook nor the umpires were convinced about the legitimacy of the catch and replays confirmed it had bounced before nestling in the hands of Hughes.

After reaching his third century of what has been an epic series for him, Cook settled down with two nice drives for four off Beer. That was important for England as Collingwood had by then been caught at mid-on off the debutant Australian spinner from a poorly executed and premeditated lofted drive.

Even if he was to rediscover his form during the one-day series and the World Cup, Collingwood's Test future looks very uncertain.

At lunch, Cook was on 130 and Bell, having hit a nice straight drive for four off Siddle, had reached 20.


The second session took England from 277-5 to 378-5 as Michael Clarke made copious bowling changes - but Australia did not threaten at all.

Milestones were reached with expansive shots - Bell dispatching an out-of-sorts Hilfenhaus past square leg for four to push England into the lead, before Cook cut Johnson for a boundary of his own to bring up the 300.

Bell's lofted off-drive for four off Steve Smith allowed him to reach his half-century - the leg-spinner did not get a bowl until the 102nd over - and at tea England were in a tremendous position.

Cook finally departed early in the final session, whereupon Bell, foot-perfect for so long, enjoyed two significant slices of fortune.

Michael Clarke
It was a tough day for the Aussies, and stand-in skipper Clarke

At 67 he was given out caught behind by umpire Aleem Dar and successfully reviewed the decision on the basis that Hotspot had not picked up an edge. But with nothing else making contact with the ball, and both Snicko and the stump microphone detecting a nick, it was highly questionable whether the final verdict was the right one.

Bell, by now batting with Prior, then drove a return catch to Smith on 84, which the 21-year-old could not cling on to.

Having weathered that sticky period, the Warwickshire man buckled down to make sure of an overdue maiden Ashes century - met with plenty of boos in the crowd of 40,300.

His confidence restored, Bell went back to attractive shot-making, while Prior was no poor second fiddle. The Sussex man scored rapidly, his haul including a straight six off Smith.

With the England fans loudly appreciative of his efforts, Bell fell in the penultimate over to Johnson, as a defensive edge just carried to the lone slip. The wicket was barely celebrated by the forlorn Australians.

Listen to commentary highlights from the fifth Test (UK users only)

TMS podcast: Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott's review (available worldwide)

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