Cook, Bell tons put England in command in Sydney Test

Alastair CookSydney, Jan 5 : England opening batsman Alastair Cook and Ian Bell scored centuries on Wednesday as the visitors ran riot on day three of the fifth Ashes Test being played in Sydney.

Cook made 189 off 342 balls, while Bell scored 115 off 232 balls, his first Ashes ton, to help England finish the day at 488-7 in reply to Australia’s first innings score of 280.

England has assumed a 208-run lead with three first-innings wickets remaining.

The tourists are looking set to become the first English team to win the Ashes outright in Australia for 24 years.

Earlier, resuming the day at 3-167, nightwatchman James Anderson (seven) lasted 18 minutes before being bowled by Peter Siddle (1-98).

The only blemish for the visitors was the latest in a long line of failures for Paul Collingwood, who was out for 13.

The 34-year-old has an average of 15.54 in his last 10 Test matches.

Cook and Bell then steadied the innings by adding 154 runs for the sixth wicket before the left-handed batsman was dismissed by Shane Watson (1-49).

The 26-year-old has scored 766 runs in the series, and is now second on the all-time tally for runs scored by an English batsmen in a series, behind only the great Wally Hammond (905) in 1928/29, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Bell fell just before the close, caught by stand-in Australian captain Michael Clarke at slip off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson (3-97).

His dismissal ended a 107-run stand with Matt Prior, who remained 54 not out when bad light brought an early end to proceedings. (ANI)

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