Alastair Cook has hammered a career-best 173 to consolidate England's position in the opening Test against Bangladesh. The England skipper cracked two sixes and 16 fours in his 283-ball knock as the tourists reached an imposing 487-4 in their first innings at lunch on the second day after resuming at 374-3. All-rounder Paul Collingwood closed in on his 10th Test century, racing to an unbeaten 86 at the break. Ian Bell was the other not-out batsman on 37.
Cook looked set to complete his maiden Test double-century before falling to off-spinner Mohammad Mahmudullah in the day's 13th over, offering an easy return catch while attempting to pull a long-hop. The left-handed opener, leading England for the first time in Tests, could add only 15 to his overnight score of 158. His previous best in Tests was 160 against the West Indies at home last year. But there was no respite for Bangladesh as Collingwood and Bell continued to gather runs comfortably on an easy-paced pitch. The pair have so far put on 75 for the unfinished fifth wicket.
Collingwood, who was unbeaten on 32 on Friday, smashed the morning's first six when he hoisted left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan over long-on then completed his half-century with two runs off Mahmudullah. Collingwood, who added 93 for the fourth wicket with Cook, has so far hit one six and six fours in his 20th Test half-century. The second and final Test starts in Dhaka on March 20. *AFP