Alastair Cook    Getty Images
Alastair Cook Getty Images

Alastair Cook scored his 32nd hundred on Day Two of the fourth Ashes Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground. On a track David Warner had already scored a hundred on, Cook had little difficulty in using the conditions to his own advantage. From the laid-back cuts to hustled drives, Cook looked eager to quash the criticisms of him losing the vigour.

Australia dramatically slumped from 260 for 3 to 327. Once Tom Curran denied Steven Smith a hundred with his maiden Test wicket, the hosts lost the plot. Shaun Marsh showed resistance by scoring a fifty, but the Englishmen bowled exceedingly well to confine the run-scoring. Amidst the collapse, James Anderson surpassed Courtney Walsh’s tally of 519 wickets and is now the fifth-highest wicket-taker in Tests.

Stuart Broad, who had taken a mere 3 wickets at 61.8 in 3 Tests, finished with a four-wicket haul the most important wicket being that of Shaun Marsh.

England had a steady in the pursuit of clearing the deficit, but Smith summoned Nathan Lyon to provide the breakthrough they had been yearning for. Lyon took a stunning one-handed catch off his own bowling to end Mark Stoneman’s stay. James Vince, too, had a start, but Josh Hazlewood concluded his story for the fourth time.

English fans must have had their hearts in their mouths when Smith, standing a tad too close at slip, dropped Cook in Mitchell Marsh’s second over. Cook was on 62 at that point.

In came Joe Root and thus began a resolute partnership between him and his former captain. Root and Cook have added 112 runs for the third wicket and look set for a long, tedious innings. While Cook completed his century in the last over of the day, Root remained unbeaten on 49. England were 192 for 2 at stumps, trailing by 135 runs.

Brief scores:

Australia 327 (David Warner 103, Steven Smith 76, Shaun Marsh 61; Stuart Broad 4 for 51, James Anderson 3 for 61) lead England 192 for 2 (Alastair Cook 104*, Joe Root 49*; Josh Hazlewood 1 fof 39, Nathan Lyon 1 for 44) by 135 runs.

Full scorecard