Imperious Cook carries England to lead

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A fifth career double ton from Alastair Cook helped England establish a 164 run lead by stumps on day three of the fourth Ashes Test.

The innings was built around Cook (244*) with mere bit parts from most of the other England batsmen as the tourists moved to 491 for 9.

When play resumed on the third morning Joe Root was with Cook but the skipper couldn’t hang around with Pat Cummins inducing an awful pull shot to have him caught in the deep for 61.

Dawid Malan (14) struggled to get steeled before Josh Hazlewood trapped him leg before to leave England 246 for 4.

England went to lunch on 264 for 4 with Jonny Bairstow keeping Cook company but two quick Nathan Lyon strikes after the break threatened to initiate another collapse.

Lyon will end the year as the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket with the only man who could overtake him, Kagiso Rabada of South Africa only able to bag a few scalps in their boxing day clash with Zimbabwe.

The off-spinner got Jonny Bairstow (22) to nick off with a loose shot and the Moeen Ali (20) lasted just 14 balls and would go down as yet another Englishman who threw his wicket away.

Cook was put down on 66 on day two by Steve Smith and the skipper would again grass a chance when the England opener was on 153.

Chris Woakes dug in for his 26 adding 61 runs for the seventh wicket and allowing England to move past Australia’s total of 327.

Woakes was undone by a Cummins short ball to have England 366 for 7 and it seemed their innings would fade out as Tom Curran (4) was adjudged caught behind on review nshortly afterwards.

But Stuart Broad, under pressure for his performance with the ball in Perth, turned up with the bat.

Cook and Broad put on a gutsy 100 run partnership for the ninth wicket to give England the edge.

Broad (56) was dismissed late in the day in a moment of controversy with replays inconclusive in determining whether Usman Khawaja had completed the catch of the bowling of Cummins.

Jimmy Anderson survived fifteen balls without scoring while Cook kept the scoreboard ticking towards five hundred having batted all day in a monumental effort.

Australia missed the penetration of Mitchell Starc with his replacement Jackson Bird going wicketless in his 30 overs so far.