'My grandmother could have played'

Boycott scathing of decision to stop play for bad light against slow India attack as Cook falls six short of treble ton.

    Cook without rhubarb: opener thrives with a different method to that favoured by Grandma Boycott [GALLO/GETTY]

    Not even the failure of the floodlights, which led to two unnecessary delays, could provide a ray of light for India as they were outclassed in every department on day three of the third Test.

    India closed on 35-1, still trailing by a daunting 451 after England declared on 710-7 helped by Alastair Cook's 294.

    But despite a classy innings by Cook on Friday, it wasn't one of Test cricket's finest days – and not just because of the complete mismatch between the teams, one of whom, India, will be replaced at the top of the world rankings by India if they lose this match.

    For most of the day the action was stilted as the hosts were twice interrupted by rain and twice more because of bad light.

    An electrical failure knocked out the power in the $52 million New Stand at lunch. It was restored an hour after play resumed – only for the floodlights to fail.

    Under the laws of cricket, the decision to take players off for bad light
    is now at the sole discretion of the umpires.

    With Cook on 233 and Eoin Morgan on 89, and with spinners Suresh Raina and Amit Mishra bowling, any danger to players stated under the rules seemed debatable and the crowd greeted the initial 16-minute delay with derision, booing and slow handclapping the umpires.

    India hadn't had much to smile about, but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and VVS Laxman walked off the field sporting broad grins after the reprieve from England's onslaught, sparked by their request for the new ball.


    Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott mocked the decision to come off.

    "You're queuing up to bat against (Suresh) Raina in this light," Boycott said while commentating for the BBC.

    "My grandmother could have played him with a stick of rhubarb."

    The mood turned to anger when the umpires again ordered the players off after 50 minutes of the evening session.

    The president of the MCC, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, described the decision – taken on the grounds of consistency – as "indefensible."

    For the unflappable Cook, who racked up his highest ever Test score over 13 hours and 545 balls, it at least provided a welcome break.

    "There was lots of stop-start and it was quite a strange day all round," he said. "But I quite enjoyed sitting down."

    Cook acknowledged a "tinge of disappointment" despite chalking up a career-best 294.
    "It's mad isn't it, how can you still be disappointed when you score 290-odd?" Cook said.

    "I suppose only cricket can do that to you – there's a tinge of disappointment.

    "But if I'm being realistic, I'm absolutely thrilled. It's taken almost 13 hours of hard work to get the opportunity (to make 300) and when you don't make it you're going to have a little bit of disappointment."

    Cook's knock was the sixth highest by an England player although there was a turgid feel to it as he managed just three boundaries in the first two sessions of the day.

    "The old ball made it quite hard to score, there were quite defensive fields and the pitch was a little bit slow so it was tough to dominate," said the 26-year-old who already has 19 Test centuries to his name.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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