Cook ton puts England on top

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An unbeaten century to opener Alastair Cook has put England in a solid position on a gloomy opening day of the first Test against the West Indies at Lord's.

Cook's knock was the highlight of an otherwise dreary day as England finished at an even 200/3 from the 56 overs that were able to be bowled.

It was the Essex opener's fifth hundred in 15 matches and second at Lord's, bearing all the hallmarks of self-assuredness that have become characteristic of his play.

While those around him struggled to shake off World Cup hangovers, Cook, who had been left out of England's World Cup squad, helped himself to a century which included nine boundaries and came from 162 balls.

"You've been watching England play on TV, you want to be there and then you are part of it," Cook said afterwards. "That's why it meant so much today.
"It's crucial you start well in the summer. You are in possession and you've got to score as many runs as you can when you can."

Cook will be hoping to turn his unbeaten overnight score into a much larger one.

"Every time you get to a hundred, you've got that (Graham Gooch) voice inside saying 'make it a big un'. I've yet to do that really," he added, his highest score being 127 against Pakistan at Old Trafford last year.

"(The pitch) was very slow. It was very hard to drive because nothing was really a half-volley out there and it nibbled around a bit," Cook added.

Those around him struggled somewhat; after a sprightly opening partnership of 88 with stand-in skipper Andrew Strauss (33), Owais Shah joined Cook and, after being struck on the helmet by a wayward throw in his return to the Test arena, was promptly on his way back to the pavilion for six.

An antsy Kevin Pietersen became all too easily frustrated and gifted his wicket when he smashed Corey Collymore to Devon Smith at cover to become Smith's third catch for the innings, and leave England looking not so flash at 162/3.

But Paul Collingwood and the gloominess of the evening saw that there would be no further wickets as Cook registered his fifth ton, and soon after play was ended for the day due to bad light.

Daren Powell was the pick of the bowlers with 2-52, and Collymore also acquitted himself well, picking up the deserved wicket of Pietersen.

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