Kolkata, Dec 7 (IANS) Skipper Alastair Cook grafted to a technically sound unbeaten 167, as England batsmen continued to dominate and moved within striking distance of overhauling India's first innings total on day three of the crucial third cricket Test match at the Eden Gardens here Friday.
England reached 296/1 in their first innings at lunch, with both overnight not out batsmen Cook (323b, 409 minutes, 22x4, 1x6) and Jonathan Trott (66 batting; 172b, 8x4) remaining unseparated, and having already stitched together a 131-run stand.
Eighty runs came off 32 overs in the day's opening session, and England were now only 20 adrift of India's first essay total of 316.
Cook continued from where he had left Thursday and in the company of the assuring Trott kept on scoring at a moderate pace as the Indian bowlers - save pacer Ishant Sharma - looked listless. Sharma bent his back and even made Cook lob a catch back to him, but ultimately he could not hold on to the opportunity.
Cook was then on 156. This was the second reprieve for the southpaw as he was dropped at first slip by Cheteswar Pujara when on 17.
Resuming at 216/1 overnight, Cook and Trott went from strength to strength crossing personal milestones. Cook notched up his 150 in the 89th over as England went past 250 runs.
Trott hit consecutive fours off pacer Zaheer Khan on way to completing his 13th Test fifty in 63 innings.
The host bowlers failed to trouble the duo who played comfortably.
Indian captain M.S. Dhoni took the new ball in the 89th over but it was of no avail.
The body language of the Indians also lacked positivity which was also reflected in their fielding.