Tons by Cook and Trott put England in command

Cardiff (United Kingdom): Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott both made centuries against Sri Lanka in the first Test as they carried on from where they left off in Australia.

Cook was 129 not out and Trott 125 not 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 in this opening match of a three-Test series.

Cook`s hundred was also his second in as many Test innings following the 189 he made in an innings win against Australia in Sydney in January.

That victory completed a 3-1 Ashes series triumph during which the Essex opener scored a mammoth 766 runs at 127.66.

Meanwhile, Cook and Trott`s so far unbroken stand of 240 was their fourth century partnership in eight Tests, following 116 against Pakistan at The Oval, 329 in the Ashes opener against Australia at Brisbane and 173 in Adelaide.

South Africa-born Trott is now averaging more than 66 in Tests - only the legendary Don Bradman with 99.94 has a better mark among batsmen who have played at least 20 innings.

Cook, 71 not out at tea, square cut seamer Suranga Lakmal for four to complete his 17th Test century, at the youthful age of just 26, in just over five hours off 224 balls with eight boundaries.

Trott was not far behind in reaching three figures.

The 30-year-old Warwickshire batsman completed a sixth century in just his 19th Test when, after Sri Lanka had taken the new ball, he cover-drove Lakmal for an eighth boundary -- a shot that also raised a stand of 200 with Cook.

England, before play on Saturday, announced James Anderson would not bowl again this match because of a side strain he suffered on Friday, with the swing specialist now doubtful for next week`s second Test at Lord`s.

However, he was deemed fit enough to resume as nightwatchman when the match got underway again after rain washed out Saturday`s morning session.

Neither Anderson nor England had added to their score when he edged spinner Ajantha Mendis to Mahela Jayawardene at slip.

That left England 47 for two, 353 runs adrift of a Sri Lanka total founded on a century from wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene and several fifties.

England, whose attack had now been reduced to just three specialist bowlers, badly needed their batsmen to cash in on a typically good Sophia Gardens pitch.

Cook and Trott duly obliged against a Sri Lanka side who had been forced to play this match without in-form seamers Dilhara Fernando and Nuwan Pradeep, both ruled out through injury.

The remaining bowlers generally lacked either the raw speed or, Mendis apart, the guile to worry England`s third-wicket duo.

Cook though did give one chance on his way to a fifth hundred in nine completed Test innings when, on 87, he swept left-arm spinner Rangana Herath only for Tharanga Paranavitana, who had anticipated well at short leg, to drop the difficult catch.

Bureau Report

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