Alastair Cook now has the highest score by a visitng batsman at MCG    Getty Images
Alastair Cook now has the highest score by a visitng batsman at MCG Getty Images

The runs had dried up for Alastair Cook since the double hundred at Edgbaston. England conceded The Ashes at Perth. Cook had averaged just over 13 in the first 3 Tests. Calls for Cook to be dropped got louder. Skipper Joe Root stood behind his former captain. Come the Boxing Test, Cook reversed the tables with a double hundred that has placed England in a strong position in Melbourne. Cook remained unbeaten on 244 on Day 3 to put England 164 runs ahead of Australia with two days left. Cook said he would have understood had he been dropped from the side prior to this Test.

“(They) would have been entitled just because I literally hadn’t scored a run since Edgbaston,” Cook said, referring to his 243 against the West Indies in August. “I always feel I’ve got the backing of the selectors but you’ve still got to deliver the goods, I hadn’t done that on this tour. It was very frustrating.”

Cook was dropped twice on 66 and 153 by Steven Smith. He now has the highest score by a visiting batsman at Melbourne. This was his fifth double-century. He also surpassed Brian Lara’s run-tally to become the sixth highest run-getter in Tests.

Emotional knock

“It’s probably been one of the more emotional (ones) from where I’d been on this tour. It meant a lot last night and then today I was quite proud that I managed to back it up. After all the emotion came out yesterday, to get a real big one for the team was really important.

“I’ve doubted myself for 12 years and I’ll probably continue to doubt myself but obviously the longer it goes the harder it becomes.

Alastair Cook, Stuart Broad quash criticisms; England lead Australia by 164 at stumps on Day 3 of 4th Ashes Test
Alastair Cook, Stuart Broad quash criticisms; England lead Australia by 164 at stumps on Day 3 of 4th Ashes Test

“But I suppose that’s why I can be quite proud of going to the well again and delivering a performance like that was pleasing.

“It’s just a shame it’s three or four weeks too late, I’ll have to live with that for a long time but it’s nice to score a few,” said a relived Cook, who had been working hard in the nets to get back to rhytym.

“I’ve always worked hard on my whole game and my approach to cricket, so unfortunately most of my runs are pretty ugly runs and quite hard work, that hasn’t changed throughout my whole career. “Obviously, with my batting over a period of time, there are quite a few moving parts to it. When they’re not quite in sync it can be quite frustrating,” he said.

This is Cook’s 32nd century and it has taken him 151 Tests to reach the mark. Cook praised his side for sticking together despite the failures in the first three Tests. He hopes England would continue to maintain dominance at Melbourne on Day Four too.

“The feeling when I walked into the change room last night was very special, and obviously today as well. The team has been fantastic. Obviously, we’ve had an interesting journey on this tour with a lot of things going on. But we’ve stuck together really well as a side and as a group of players and we’ve put in three good days of performance here and let’s hope we can do the same on day four tomorrow,” Cook added.