Alastair Cook admits he 'would have been entitled to be dropped' had he not hit double century

Alastair Cook raises his bat at the MCG after hitting a double century. Credit: PA

Essex batsman Alastair Cook admits he was starting to fear for his place in the England team before returning to form with a stunning double century in the fourth Ashes test in Melbourne.

The 33-year-old had only scored 83 runs in his previous six innings in the series, leading to speculation that he could be replaced at the top of the order.

However, he ended day three still unbeaten on 244 not out to put England in control at the MCG.

The innings also meant that Cook leapfrogged great West Indian batsman Brian Lara into sixth on the all-time list of Test run scorers.

Cook was congratulated by all the Australian players at stumps. Credit: PA

Cook, who hadn't passed 50 in 10 innings since hitting 243 against the West Indies at Edgbaston in the summer, told reporters at stumps on Thursday that he could have had no complaints if he was dropped by the selectors.

"I would have been entitled to be dropped just because I literally hadn't scored a run since Edgbaston," Cook told BT Sport.

"The whole tour I've been struggling and I was a bit embarrassed by my performance, but at least today I've gone on and got a big one.

"It's never going to be pretty, my batting, but sometimes it's effective.

"I've doubted myself for 12 years - and I'll probably continue to doubt myself."

Current and former teammates of Cook took to social media to praise the opener on his magnificent innings.

England will resume on 491-9 on the fourth day, a lead of 164, as they look to avoid a 5-0 series whitewash.