Cook can be the greatest - KP

Kevin Pietersen expects his Test captain Alastair Cook to put himself out on his own as England's most prolific all-time runscorer.

Both men are joint top - with three greats in Wally Hammond, Geoff Boycott and Colin Cowdrey - on the list of those who have made the most Test centuries for England. Pietersen's 186 and Cook's 122 not only took them both up to 22 centuries, but underpinned a famous 10-wicket victory over India as England levelled the four-match series at 1-1.

"Cookie has not spoken about himself much but he is only 27 and has got 22 Test hundreds," Pietersen said, as he and his captain reflected on their win in well under three and a half days at the Wankhede Stadium. "There is no reason why he shouldn't get 35 Test hundreds and have a wonderful career."

Their heroics were consolidated by Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, the former taking 11 wickets in the match and England's two spinners responsible for 19 in all between them.

Cook's tourists can therefore once again foster realistic ambitions of becoming the first from England to win a Test series in India since David Gower's team of 1984/85.

Their next assignment is in Kolkata a week on Wednesday, with the final Test in Nagpur after that.

Cook followed his rearguard 176 in the first Test defeat in Ahmedabad with a fourth successive hundred in his four matches to date as captain. On a different, arguably more challenging surface, he demonstrated his characteristic resourcefulness by adapting his method.

At the Sardar Patel Stadium last week, he was crease-bound and reliant on a decisive front-foot movement to smother spin on a slow, low pitch; here, with more bounce and sharper turn, he was prepared to advance out of his ground in attack.

Cook knows it is no easy task to stay ahead of the game, especially in alien conditions, and he said: "There will be tough times, of course. It is hard work against quality spinners.

"The ball turns a lot. But we have to keep working hard, so if you do get in it gets easier. I don't think you are ever going to crack it - that is not the right word. What we can continue to do is improve."

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