Another record for Cook as England battle in 1st Test

England cricket captain Alastair Cook
England cricket captain Alastair Cook Photo: ITV

Essex cricket star Alastair Cook has become the first player to score three centuries in his three first test matches as England captain.

Cook, who succeeded Andrew Strauss in August, finished Day 4 of the 1st Test with India on 168 not out in Ahmedabad. It follows centuries in his first two tests as captain as Strauss's replacement when England toured Bangladesh in 2010.

It was also Cook's 21st ton in Test cricket - the highest by an England captain in India - and lifted him second in the all time list of England century makers, behind Sir Geoffrey Boycott, Wally Hammond and Colin Cowdrey

But England still have a battle to save the match - at the close they were 340 for 5, holding a lead of just 10 runs with a day left.

Cook finished the day at the crease with wicket-keeper Matt Prior who was 84 not out. Together they've put on 141 runs for the 6th wicket.

His innings brought great praise from England batting coach - and mentor - Graham Gooch.

"Some players blossom under the captaincy as a performer, and he has certainly blossomed under that responsibility here," said Gooch. "It was great commitment from our guys and great fighting spirit. There was belief in their own ability, and Alastair led from the front as captain.

"That will do him the world of good to put that score on the board, showing what he is capable of and what this team is capable of.

"I think that was as good an innings as I've seen him play, because he was under great pressure after a poor first-innings performance from the team."

Cook's great strengths, Gooch points out, are his ability to adapt to conditions and an awareness of his own limitations.

"He can do it because he is one of the best players in the world," the former England captain added.

"It is not just physical skill I'm talking about - you need skill between the ears.

"This lad has had a great temperament from when he first started and came here (to India) to make his debut (at Nagpur in 2006).

"He proved even then the priceless skill of knowing how to play. From the outset, he knew what he could do and what he couldn't do - and he still has that skill today".