Cook century amid tough outlook
Alastair Cook made cricket history on Sunday morning by becoming the first man to mark his first three Tests as captain with a century.
But Cook, in charge of England on a permanent basis for the first time after his previous successes as Andrew Strauss' deputy in Bangladesh two-and-a-half years ago, has a still bigger task on his hands to try to salvage a stalemate against India at the Sardar Patel Stadium.
He would doubtless swap any personal glory for a piece of collective escapology too, after England on Saturday conceded a first-innings deficit of 330. Following on, Cook (109no) and Nick Compton continued their century opening stand on the fourth morning - but by lunch, only the captain was still standing in a total of 182 for three.
Cook's 21st Test hundred took him past his mentor, and England's current batting coach, Graham Gooch in the list of those to make the most for his country.
Ahead of him still are Geoff Boycott, Colin Cowdrey and Wally Hammond on 22 - and level are Strauss and Kevin Pietersen. England lost only Compton in the first hour on Sunday, his wicket coming doubtless to the relief of Mahendra Singh Dhoni who had just missed a chance to stump the debutant opener.
Compton ate up 128 balls and lasted 45 overs for his 37 runs - a handy contribution in the context of the match - before he toppled over in defence against Zaheer Khan's left-arm inswing, and fell lbw.
Jonathan Trott then appeared to be getting himself in, after his first-innings duck, and could hardly be criticised for edging behind on the forward-defence when Pragyan Ojha turned one sharply from a perfect line and length.
Pietersen has long disputed he has a weakness to left-arm spin, but fell to that variety for the 25th time in his career when Ojha followed up Saturday's success against him. Bowled middle-stump playing inside one that turned then, this time Pietersen got so far across to sweep that he was bowled round his legs by a delivery that took the off bail.
Two specialist batsmen had gone for the addition of just four runs. Ian Bell was under extreme pressure too after his first-innings golden duck. But he confidently drove his second ball for four, and soon afterwards Cook completed his 181-ball century in more prosaic fashion with a push for two into the leg-side off Umesh Yadav.
:: India opener Gautam Gambhir did not take the field on Sunday morning, having flown to Delhi following the death of his grandmother.