Alastair Cook has posted his second test double hundred in Australia – and the fifth of his career - passing 200 late on day three of the fourth Ashes test at the MCG in Melbourne.

Cook, who was dropped on 66 and 153 by Aussie skipper Steve Smith, brought up the milestone with a sweetly timed straight drive off Jackson Bird.

The former captain's best test score in Australia is the unbeaten 235 he scored at the Gabba in 2010.

Cook's gutsy knock ensured England went past Australia's first innings despite dropping wickets steadily during the day in what continues to be the catalyst for the visitors' fightback in the series.

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He also became the first English batsman to get more than 10 scores greater than 150 – passing the likes of Wally Hammond, Kevin Pietersen and Len Hutton.

The opener has even jumped up to outright seventh on the list of the most prolific run scorers in the history of test cricket.

With his score on 203 not out, Cook needed less than 50 runs to go past West Indies legend Brian Lara to become the sixth greatest run scorer in test cricket.

Cook (in his 151st test) is now on 11909 runs, only 44 runs behind Lara.

India's Sachin Tendulkar remains the most prolific batsman in test history, with a staggering 15921 runs in 200 tests. - AAP, news.com