Cook century puts England in control in SA Test

KINGSMEAD: Alastair Cook ground out a century as he and Paul Collingwood took England into a strong position on the third day of the second Test against South Africa at Kingsmead on Monday.

Cook was on 115 not out as England reached 281 for three at tea, just 62 behind South Africa's first innings total of 343.

Cook and Paul Collingwood (59 not out) put on an unbeaten 126 for the fourth wicket as South Africa's bowlers toiled under a hot sun in the best batting conditions of the match.

The left-handed Cook had been under pressure after a poor run of form in which he failed to score more than 32 in his previous eight Test innings.

But he batted solidly to reach a half-century off 136 balls and his tenth Test century off 218 deliveries.

Cook made a successful use of the review system after umpire Amish Saheba gave him out caught at short leg off off-spinner JP Duminy when he was on 64.

Television umpire Steve Davis ruled that the ball had not touched the bat before bouncing off the batsman's pad to Hashim Amla.

South Africa's bowlers gave a much-improved performance in the two-and- a-half hours played before lunch, taking two wickets and conceding only 87 runs in 33.4 overs.

But Cook and Collingwood were largely untroubled between lunch and tea, even when South African captain Graeme Smith called for the second new ball when the total was on 262 for three after 81 overs.

Morne Morkel struck an early blow for the host nation when he had Jonathan Trott caught behind for 18 off the seventh ball of the morning.

Kevin Pietersen survived a dropped catch at slip off left-arm spinner Paul Harris when he was on 20 but fell to the same bowler for 31 when he missed a sweep and was leg before wicket.

ScoreboardSouth Africa first innings 343England first innings overnight 103-1A. Strauss b Morkel 54A. Cook not out 115J. Trott c Boucher b Morkel 18K. Pietersen lbw b Harris 31P. Collingwood not out 59Extras nb1, w3 4Total 3 wkts, 88 overs 281Fall of wkts 1-71, 2-104, 3-155To bat I. Bell, M. Prior, S. Broad, G. Swann, J. Anderson, G. OnionsBowling Steyn 21-6-50-0, Ntini 14-2-54-0, Morkel 20-5-52-2 (w3), Kallis 8-1-29-0 (nb1), Harris 17-0-73-1, Duminy 8-1-23-0