Cricket legend Alastair Cook finished his 12 year batting career with a century in the fifth Test against India at The Oval. His 147 helped guide England to a 4-1 series win in the final match of the Summer.
“The timing is right” he said in an interview with Sky Sports, “I started noticing things in my game and preparations were missing. That edge isn’t there.”
Cook got his first start as part of the England side touring India in early 2006. The team suffered heavily from stomach complaints, an issue that often dogs the team in India. That didn’t stop Cook however, as he scored a promising 60 in the first innings and followed it up with a fantastic 104* in the second.
The centuries came thick and fast, and in December 2012, once more facing India, he became England’s record centurion in Kolkata. Lighting up Eden Gardens he reached 190 in 377 balls before ultimately being run out by Kohli.
Three years and many standing ovations later it was time for another major record to be broken, Cook this time surpassing Graham Gooch as England’s record Test runs batsman.
For his farewell Test this week, the crowd at The Oval gave him an ovation at every opportunity they could. He began day four on 46, quickly reaching his half-century early on in the morning session. With every over that passed the fans grew more tense, anticipating the opportunity of a final century.
His stint at the crease wasn’t just plain sailing. On 72 India appealed for a catch at silly point, but to the relief of almost everyone in the ground, he was found not out. On he powered, and soon he reached 96. The crowd rose to their feet; only Jadeja could stop Cook now.
The delivery came, Cook leaned back and cut the ball through point for a comfortable single. The ball rolled out to Jaspit Bumrah, a player who has had a great Test series. A momentary lapse in concentration saw him throw well beyond the stumps, rolling all the way for a boundary. Play was paused for several minutes as The Oval marked the occasion.
When he finally fell for 147, every Indian fielder on the pitch came to shake his hand and, for one final time, the crowd commended Cook. An extraordinary career for an extraordinary cricketer.
The incredible numbers of Cook’s career:
– Matches: 161
– Innings: 291
– Runs: 12,472
– 50s: 57
– 100s: 33
– Highest Score: 294
– Average: 45.35