Three Lions’ skipper responds to his critics to put the home side in charge.
When: 11.00 (BST)
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Under-fire captain Alastair Cook made a courageous 95 and Gary Ballance struck a fine century to put England in control at 2 for 247 on the first day of the third Test against India at Southhampton.
Ballance was unbeaten on 104 at the close and beleaguered captain Cook survived a dropped catch to silence his critics with a battling knock after making a brave decision to bat first.
Ian Bell (16 not out) and Ballance safely negotiated the second new ball and the pair will resume on day two when England will bid to post a large total as they bid to level the five-match series.
Cook, in dreadful recent form which has led to calls from former England captains Michael Vaughan, Geoff Boycott, Mike Atherton and Kevin Pietersen to step down, had a huge slice of luck on 15 when he was dropped by Ravindra Jadeja at slip.
He survived to add 158 with Ballance, who joined an elite group of players by scoring his third century in his first six Tests.
Cook batted with few alarms and was looking good for his 26th Test century when he feathered a faint edge down the leg side off Jadeja and was caught by wicketkeeper MS Dhoni.
“The reception was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It was a really nice feeling,” Cook said.
“I was delighted to get 95 but also frustrated that I didn’t get a hundred but if you’d have offered me that score yesterday I’d have snapped your hand off.
“It has given me some confidence that my batting is going in the right direction and hopefully I can carry on scoring runs.”