Alastair Cook scored his second straight hundred as England reached an imposing 317-2 at stumps for a 72-run first-innings lead over Australia on the second day of the second Ashes test on Saturday.

Cook, who now has over 400 runs in the series after scoring 67 and an unbeaten 235 in the drawn test at Brisbane, will resume on Sunday with a score of 136. Kevin Pietersen is unbeaten on 85.

Bollinger removes Strauss

After England captain Andrew Strauss was bowled by Doug Bollinger for 1 off the third ball of the morning, Cook and Jonathan Trott put on a 173-run second-wicket stand before the latter was dismissed for 78 off the bowling of Ryan Harris.

Cook, who has only been off the field for 11 overs in the series, survived a scare while on 64 when he was given out caught behind off Siddle, but the batsman immediately referred the decision to the third umpire and replays showed the ball hit his arm.

Cook credited batting coach Graham Gooch with helping him through the tough times last summer when he scored just 100 runs from seven innings against Bangladesh and Pakistan.

“At tea I was quite tired, but as Goochie said you have to cash in when you’re in this kind of form and don’t give it away,” Cook said.

After his run of poor scores, Cook admitted to fearing for his England future, but felt the hundred he got in the final test of the English summer against Pakistan at the Oval gave him the confidence to face the challenges Down Under.

“It is always disappointing when you get criticized, but I deserved it when you only score 100 runs in seven knocks. How I dealt with it by responding at the Oval gave me a lot of confidence and coming here when the side needed it most and I’ve been able to deliver so far,” he said.

Pietersen begins in aggressive fashion

Soon after arriving at the crease, Pietersen punished some gentle bowling with a couple of boundaries before slowing down as Australia tightened their line in the last hour.

“He said he had his pads on for 11 hours or so and the way he batted out there showed he really wants to make the most out of it,” Cook said. “He played really well in Brisbane without getting a big score and he looked really good today, and hopefully he can continue that tomorrow.”

Shortly before his dismissal, Trott was dropped by Brad Haddin after he top-edged a pull from Harris, but more costly were the two chances spurned early in his innings.

A run out attempt when, in a similar scenario to the one that saw Trott run out Simon Katich in Australia’s innings, Doherty missed the stumps. Soon afterward, when on 10, the English batsman edged Bollinger to Hussey at point but the chance was dropped.

Doherty taken for plenty

Unlike Graeme Swann for England, spinner Doherty could not tie down an end for Australia conceding close to five runs an over, although Pietersen came close to throwing his wicket away when he skied an attempted drive that landed just over the infield on the off-side.

Australia would have hoped for much more after the first over when Strauss expected Bollinger’s delivery to bounce high, but instead caught the top of middle and off-stump.

Cook emphasized that a lot of work is still to be done if England are not to waste the opportunity created by their fine bowling performance to dismiss Australia 245 on the first day.

“We had to make the most of what our bowlers did yesterday, which was a fantastic effort on that wicket,” he said. ”... We have to get through that first half hour and focus on getting a really big score.”

Keywords: The Ashes

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