England v South Africa, 1st Test, The Oval, 1st day
Cook Ton Gives England Control20-Jul-2012 02:41:00 GMT
London: Alastair Cook's 20th Test hundred helps England dominate the opening day of the series against South Africa at The Oval on Thursday.
The vice-captain's untroubled 114 not out saw England reach 267-3 by the close, with Jonathan Trott (71) and Kevin Pietersen (42) also in the runs on a miserable day for the tourists.
However, but for Cook and Trott's graft, England might not be in such a commanding position on the first evening of a three-Test series which will determine the best team in the world.
Skipper Andrew Strauss was dismissed by Morne Morkel with the fourth ball of the day and, as the South Africa seamers threatened to inflict further damage under cloudy skies, it was left to some familiar faces to shift the balance of power.
Cook and Trott's disciplined batting at the top of the order has underpinned England's rise to the top of the world rankings - and the watchful pair had to utilise all of their famous powers of patience to defy South Africa.
Proteas captain Graeme Smith, playing his 100th Test, looked to have pulled off a masterstroke when he gave the new ball to Morkel - ahead of the number one ranked bowler in the world, Dale Steyn - and it paid instant dividends with the dismissal of Strauss.
Morkel struck Strauss in front, but his appeal was turned down by umpire Steve Davis. South Africa referred the decision and were vindicated as replays suggested the ball was going to hit the stumps.
England 267 for 3 (Cook 114*, Trott 71)