After having an illustrious cricketing career spread over 12 years, England’s all-time highest run scorer, Alastair Cook, on Monday announced that the final Test of the ongoing series against India, will be his last international assignment.
Cook made his Test debut in Nagpur, 2006, against the same side he will play his swansong Test. Cook is currently the sixth highest run-scorer (12, 254) in the history of Test cricket and will require 147 more runs in The Oval Test, to surpass Kumar Sangakkara for fifth place.
Cook is the only cricketer with over 10,000 Test runs as an opener and leading the chart with 11,627 runs.
The 33-year old has played the most of Test matches (160) for England and holds the record for the most runs and the most number of centuries (32) for his country.
As the England Test legend decides to call time on his career, we look back five of his finest knocks:
104* v India, Nagpur, 2006
As seasoned opener Marcus Trescothick fell ill and left India, a 21-year old Cook was called up to the Test squad. The Essex opener was touring the Caribbean for England A. He flew over three days and across multiple time zones to play to make it in time for the Nagpur Test. In testing conditions the left-handed opener compiled 60 in the first innings and went on to better it the second essay, as he struck a remarkable century and remained unbeaten for 104. All that, against proven Indian spinners in Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, made it one of the greatest debuts in Test cricket.
118 v Sri Lanka, Galle, 2007
Cook underlined his ability to bat on spin-friendly wickets with a century in Galle. Just in the second year of his Test career, Cook stood tall as his teammates succumbed against the home side. Mahela Jayawerdene smashed a double ton to pile up 499 in Sri Lanaka’s first innings. England were made to follow on after Chaminda Vaas and company bowled them out for a paltry 81. Cook batted for 285 balls for 118, when the second highest score from an English batsman was 30. With some help from the rain gods and Cook’s fighting innings, England were able to save the Test.
235* v Australia, Brisbane, 2010
The first Ashes Test at the Gabbatoir can be overwhelming for most batsmen and the tourists found that soon. Australia skittled England to 260 on a good batting surface and then went on to smash 481, taking a mammoth 221-run lead. Cook, once again stepped up in the second innings, and went to notch his first double hundred in Test. Finding able company from Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott, two big partnerships worth 188 runs and 329-run stand saw England rack up 517 runs, before declaring. Cook’s unbetean 235 is the only double century scored by an Englishman at the venue. The masterful innings set the tone for the series as Cook hammered 148 in Adelaide and 189 in Sydney amassing 766 runs in five Tests. England retained the Ashes and had won their first Test series Down Under in 24 years.
190 v India, Kolkata, 2012
England’s tour to India in 2012 was Cook’s first series as a full-time captain. Despite his battling century in the first Test at Ahmedabad, England lost the match. Cook continued his rich vein of form scoring his third Test hundred in as many Tests in India and career’s 23rd ton to take his side to a series win against the home side. The century took him atop of the list of most hundreds scored by an English cricketer. At the age of 27 years and 347 days he also beat Sachin Tendulkar to become the youngest Test batsman to 7,000 runs. England’s 2–1 Test series win was their first series victory in India since the 1984–85 tour.
244* v Australia, Melbourne, 2017
In the final Test of the 2017/18 Ashes series, which was won comfortably by Australia, Cook’s defiant double century denied the Aussies a whitewash. Coming into the Test, he was going through a lean patch, not having scored a single half-century in any of his past 10 Test innings. Dead rubber alright, but Cook’s 32nd century left a lasting impression on the Australian crowds at the MCG.