This England side seems to have an obsession for making history. On the third day of the final Ashes test at Sydney, Cook and Bell made some individual records and together set their side on the path to a first Ashes series win in Australia for 24 years.

Australia couldn't stop the flow of runs, with Cook and Bell adding 154 runs for the sixth wicket, before Matt Prior joined in on the action stitching 107 with Bell for the seventh.

Cook's 189 gave him 766 series runs, which is the second highest for an English batsman in the Ashes, behind Wally Hammond's 905 in 1928-29 series. He also passed 1000 first-class runs on tours.

Ian Bell, who came on after the dismissals of night watchman Anderson (7) and Collingwood (13), oozed class with his 115, finally getting his first century in an Ashes series. However, he was lucky to stay at the crease after his inside-edge, when on 67, was caught behind and was deemed out, before the decision was overturned on review though there was no conclusive evidence.

He was then dropped by Steven Smith when on 84 as his firm return was too quick for the spinner to react to. Cook was also fortunate to stay long enough to make his century. Understandably nervous when on 99, he turned Beer to Phillip Hughes at short-leg. However, doubts remained whether the ball had carried and he was rightly reprieved on referral.

Close-calls and controversies apart, the two played a majestic innings, all but ensuring England their first series win down under. They gorged on the second new ball, taken shortly before lunch, with Bell timing cover drives to near-perfection making life difficult for Hilfenhaus, Siddle and Beer.

Cook looked well on his way to making a double ton but walked back 11 runs short when he edged Watson to Hussey at gully. If Australia had hoped for a revival, it failed to materialize. Matt Prior continued the flow of runs, making 107 for the seventh wicket with Bell. Bell was cautious in his 90s. However, he soon passed the three figure mark, touching Smith through the covers with good use of his feet. He seemed mentally drained though, and his innings came to an end when he edged Johnson to Clarke at first slip.

Bad light soon had the umpires talking and on stumps, England lead by 208 runs with 3 wickets remaining in the 1st innings. It was a crucial day of cricket, and with their merciless batting, England look set to take the series. Only the performance of Collingwood, yet to climb out of his slump, will mar English moods.