Alastair Cook England Lions India A 2018
Alastair Cook during his 154* against India A © Getty Images

Playing for England Lions in pursuit of valuable match practice, Alastair Cook batted throughout Day One against India A at New Road, Worcester, for 154 not out, off 238 balls. Cook hit 22 fours, and had big partnerships with two Middlesex men — 155 with Nick Gubbins (73) for the second wicket and an unbroken 156 with Dawid Malan (59*). England Lions finished the day on top, at 310 for 2.

This was Cook’s first hundred since his 244 not out in The Ashes at Melbourne, the highest Test score at the ground by a visiting batsman as well as the highest Test score by anyone who carried his bat. He had scores of 70 and 46 in the home series against Pakistan as well as some fifties in the County Championship for Essex — 84 against Hampshire, 66 against Worcestershire, 58 against Lancashire, and even 96 against Somerset. However, the three-figure mark remained elusive.

Navdeep Saini struck early for India A, having captain Rory Burns (5) caught by Mayank Agarwal. At that stage the score read 9 for 1, but their only other moment of joy came when Gubbins was caught by Murali Vijay off Ankit Rajpoot. Just like Cook, Vijay is making full use of the contest for match practice, as is Ajinkya Rahane. Vijay also rolled his arm over for 9 overs of innocuous off-spin.

Brief scores:

England Lions 310 for 2 (Alastair Cook 154*, Nick Gubbins 73, Dawid Malan 59*; Ankit Rajpoot 1 for 41, Navdeep Saini 1 for 61) vs India A.