Cardiff (United Kingdom): Alastair Cook made it two hundreds in as many Test innings and moved closer to the status of an England great during the series opener against Sri Lanka.
But, rather than bask in his own achievements, the left-handed opener saluted "phenomenal" fellow century-maker Jonathan Trott after the pair`s unbroken stand of 240 yesterday batted England back into the first of this three-Test series at Sophia Gardens.
Cook was 129 not out and Trott 125 not out as England closed on 287 for two in reply to Sri Lanka`s first innings 400, a deficit of 113, at stumps on the third day at Sophia Gardens.
Cook`s latest ton followed the 189 he made in an innings win against Australia in Sydney in January -- England`s last Test match.
That victory completed a 3-1 Ashes series victory during which Cook scored a mammoth 766 runs at 127.66.
Cook`s 17th Test put the 26-year-old in sight of the England Test record of 22 shared by Geoffrey Boycott, Colin Cowdrey and Walter Hammond.
Meanwhile Trott, who scored a hundred on Test debut against Australia in 2009, remains -- statistically at least -- on course for a place among cricket`s all-time global greats.
Trott`s sixth century in his 19 Tests left him with an average of 66.34 -- ahead of the likes of such batting maestros as South Africa`s Graeme Pollock, West Indies` George Headley and England`s Herbert Sutcliffe.
Only Australia phenomenon Sir Donald Bradman, among batsmen who`ve played 20 Test innings, is in front of the South Africa-born Trott in the averages list with his astounding mark of 99.94.
"It`s nice to score a few again and continue from Australia," Cook told reporters. "It`s pleasing personally but it`s also put us in a position where we can win this game.
"This was an opportunity for Trotty and I to make big ones (hundreds). The only way we can win this game is to bat once and bat big."
As for Trott`s contribution, Cook added: "He has been a revelation for us since coming in during the 2009 Ashes. His stats are phenomenal.
"Having that rock at three means that our batting order is very settled and we have every base covered. But we will never stop trying to improve."
Former England captain Graham Gooch, Cook`s mentor at Essex, has always stressed the importance of making big hundreds and his protege said: "It`s nice to score a few again and continue from Australia.
"You always wonder what will happen when you have a few months off," added Cook. "You never master it, you can improve on it. I was talking to people before Australia, about how I hadn`t gone on to big, 150-plus scores, `daddy hundreds`.
"The last couple I have done and I`m pleased with the method I`ve used," said Cook, who gave just one chance, a difficult catch to short leg off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, when on 87, during his innings on Saturday.
As for suggestions he was now in the class of Bradman and Hammond, Cook replied: "I`m not sure I am. I think that`s doing a slight disservice to those guys. It`s been a good start to this season and hopefully I can score a few more (runs)."