Can Cook catch Tendulkar? Crunching the numbers in pursuit of the Little Master
Alastair Cook smashed records aplenty on his way to a majestic double-hundred against Australia at the MCG on Thursday, but can he break the biggest one of them all?
The England opener moved up three places to sixth in the list of Test cricket's all-time leading run scorers, surpassing a trio of batting behemoths in the process.
With only five men between him and the summit - all of whom are retired - Cook's place in the pantheon of greats to wield the willow is already assured.
But with Sachin Tendulkar sitting pretty atop the standings, just how realistic are Cook's chances of overtaking the India icon?
- Cook, who reached stumps on day three of the fourth Ashes Test 244 not out, moved onto 11,956 Test runs.
- In doing so he climbed above Sri Lanka great Mahela Jayawardene (11,814) and West Indies duo Shivnarine Chanderpaul (11,867) and Brian Lara (11,953).
- The next man in Cook's sights is Kumar Sangakkara (12,400), before Rahul Dravid (13,288), Jacques Kallis (13,289) and Ricky Ponting (13,378), who are separated by just 90 runs.
- However, Tendulkar sits well clear at the top, more than 2,500 ahead of Ponting with a mammoth 15,921.
PASSING PONTING A POSSIBILITY, TENDULKAR A TOUCH TOO FAR?
- As it stands, Cook sits 444 runs behind the fifth-placed Sangakkara. He could usurp his fellow left-hander during England's tour of New Zealand in March and April.
- Former Australia captain Ponting is second on the list and has a 1,422-run advantage. At Cook's current average of 46.52, he would need 31 more innings - at least another 15 matches. England are presently scheduled to play 10 Tests in 2018.
- Tendulkar, who played in Cook's debut Test in Nagpur in 2006, is a daunting 3,965 ahead of the England opener. That means, at his current rate, Cook would need a further 86 innings, or at least 43 more Tests.
- That would likely take at least three years but at the age of 33, still fit as a fiddle and having silenced his critics in proving his thirst for runs remains in Melbourne, Cook may yet overhaul the Little Master.