Unbeaten Cook ‘mad’ to be disappointed

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Alastair Cook knows he is ‘mad’ to be feeling a tinge of disappointment after his career-best 294 helped to put England on the verge of world-beating status.

Cook batted for almost 13 hours as England racked up a monumental 710 for seven declared, and India’s attempt to bat out more than two days of the third npower Test to salvage a draw at Edgbaston then reached 35 for one at stumps.

Andrew Strauss’ team therefore merely need to take nine more wickets - India are still 451 runs behind - to clinch the series 3-0 and replace the tourists at the top of the International Cricket Council Test rankings.

Cook prides himself on being one of a regular top three - Jonathan Trott is absent injured here - who provide England’s platform, and allow strokemakers to bat around them.

He did that to a tee but asked rhetorically afterwards: “It’s mad, isn’t it, how you can still be disappointed when you score 290 odd?

“I suppose only cricket can do that to you.

“There’s a tinge of disappointment. But if I’m being realistic, I’m absolutely thrilled.

“It’s taken almost 13 hours of hard work to get the opportunity (to make 300). When you don’t make it, you’re going to have a little bit of disappointment.”

England have been steadfastly cautious about their chances of closing out victory, but it is hard to see them being denied now.