Cook and Trott run hot
Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott reprised their Ashes heroics with masterful centuries as England dominated Sri Lanka on the third day of the opening npower Test at Cardiff.
Cook made an unbeaten 129 and Trott 125 not out, both batting with as much comfort as one suspects is possible in international cricket to lead England to 287 for two.
Their third-wicket is currently worth 240 and leaves England trailing by 113 heading into the penultimate day of the first match of their summer campaign.
Victory may well be beyond them; rain this morning lopped a further 20 overs off the day’s play, in addition to the 42 lost on Thursday, while their strike bowler, James Anderson, will not bowl again in this game.
However, Cook and Trott’s ruthlessly efficient alliance not only demonstrated their continuing appetite for runs but highlighted the limitations of a Sri Lanka attack that found precious little assistance from a slow pitch.
They offered one chance apiece, but otherwise were untroubled as they collected runs at will - and to all parts of the ground. Boredom seemed the biggest danger for large chunks of a hugely one-sided day.
Cook and Trott also ensured England avoided the follow-on, a not altogether unrealistic prospect after nightwatchman Anderson perished without addition to the overnight total to leave them 47 for two.
Scoring opportunities proved elusive against an initially disciplined attack - just 11 runs came from the first 11 overs - meaning a patient crowd had to wait 45 minutes for the first boundary, a firm square-drive from Trott that was repeated on numerous occasions over the coming hours.
Cook, who resumed today on 24, took successive fours off Thisara Perera en route to an efficient 112-ball half-century, and Trott drove soundly through the off side as they settled in against an attack sorely missing the guile - and presence - of Muttiah Muralitharan.
Mendis, the so-called mystery spinner who bowled tidily but without great menace, could not prevent them bringing up the hundred partnership off the last ball before tea, although both batsmen were fortunate to survive chances after the interval.
Trott had made 59 when Perera missed the stumps at the non-striker’s end with a hurried throw from mid-on, while less blame could be attached to an alert Tharanga Paranavitana after he failed to hold on to Cook’s paddle-sweep at short-leg off Rangana Herath.
The left-hander had 87 to his name at the time, and was largely untroubled in collecting the remaining 13 he needed for three figures.
A powerful cut off Farveez Maharoof took him to his 17th Test hundred - and his fourth in six Tests - and it had long since become an inevitability that Trott would follow him there.
That he did so courtesy of a flowing cover drive, off the 196th ball he faced, was the perfect image to encapsulate an innings that featured immaculate strokes all around the wicket.
Cook barely suffered in comparison in terms of aesthetics, and given that there is little to separate both players' desire to occupy the crease, Sri Lanka have reason to fear the worst tomorrow.