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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Alastair Cook puts England in commanding position

Tourists close day two on 192-2

Alastair Cook's century has put England in a commanding position
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Day three
BT Sport 1, 11,30pm Wednesday

An unbeaten century from opener Alastair Cook put England in a dominant position on day two of the fourth Test in Melbourne.

Alongside captain Joe Root, who ended the day on 49 not out, the 33-year-old reached his century in the final over of the day to help England close on 192-2 - a deficit of 135 runs.

Having resumed on 244-3 Australia looked on course to set a big total themselves with Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh at the crease.

But Smith's (76) dismissal to debutant Tom Curran with the score on 260 sparked an Aussie collapse. The hosts lost their final seven wickets for just 67 runs to be bowled out for 327 as a resurgent Stuart Broad claimed 4-51 and James Anderson 3-61.

England lost Mark Stoneman (15) and James Vince (17) cheaply in their reply but Cook, and later Root, stood firm for the remainder of the day, blunting an Australian attack that has tormented them for much of the winter.

The tourists are a best-price 7-4 to gain some consolation at the MCG with Australia, who already have an unassailable 3-0 series lead, a 2-1 chance. The draw is also 2-1.

England will need Cook and Root to reinforce their position in the opening exchanges of day three and on a slow MCG surface, they are well set to do so.

Australia looked flat without the express pace of Mitchell Starc and, coupled with Pat Cummins suffering from illness, they could be in for a long day in the field.

Bet365 have set their fall of third wicket runs line at 232.5 and going long on that could prove wise.

Recommendation
Fall of third wicket at over 232 runs
1pt 5-6 bet365


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The hosts lost their final seven wickets for just 67 runs
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