154 consecutive Test matches; Alastair Cook’s five memorable knocks
In the second Test between England and Pakistan at Headingley, England’s Alastair Cook entered into the record books by playing in his 154th consecutive Test match, thereby breaking the 24-year record held by former Australia captain Allan Border.
Alastair Cook who led England in 59 Tests is well known for his doggedness at the crease. Over the years the left-hander has played many marathon innings for England and can well be termed as a good old-fashioned Test opener. He is one of those who has a great appetite for runs and just loved to grind out the opposition bowlers.
Cook became the first England player to reach the magical 10,000 runs in Tests and also holds the record for being the youngest ever to achieve that milestone.
As he enters into the record books, let’s go back in time and recollect five of his best Test innings.
104 vs India (Nagpur, 2006)
Cook was only 21 and was on the tour to the Caribbean with the England A side when he got this unexpected call to represent his national side in India. The left-handed opener had to replace the injured batsman Marcus Trescothick, who was declared unwell and was forced to go back home.
After a three-day long journey to Nagpur, Cook made his Test debut and had to square up against two of India’s best spinners in Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. Cook was out for 60 in the first innings but his magnificent unbeaten 104 in the second innings in energy-sapping heat and alien conditions went down as one of the best ever debut knocks for England.
This was the start of a great Test career and Cook has lived up to the expectations since that knock 12 years ago.
118 vs Sri Lanka (Galle, 2007)
After Mahela Jayawardene's double hundred helped Sri Lanka to 418, England were bowled out for a meager 81 in the first innings and were staring down the barrel. With rain in the forecast, Sri Lanka decided to enforce the follow-on late on day 3.
Alastair Cook scored a typical grinding knock of 118 that ensured England saved the third Test. Cook's innings was punctuated with back foot drives and solid defense off both spinners and pace bowlers.
This was Cook's 7th hundred in Tests and he was three days shy of turning 23. He became the 4th batsman to score that many hundreds at a very young age. The other three batsmen were Australia's Don Bradman, Pakistan's Javed Miandad and India's very own little master Sachin Tendulkar