At one point, about last year or 18 months back, Alastair Cook seemed to be well on course to challenge the great Sachin Tendulkar’s Test record for the most runs (and maybe the most centuries). He was still about 32 and it seemed like he could go on for another 3-4 years and if he had the consistency, he could well challenge those records.
However, in what has been a disappointing 2018 for the former England captain, Cook has managed only 298 runs in 16 innings at a dismal average of 18.63 and thus, his place in the side was questioned. Hence, one of the greatest opening batsmen of all time has decided to hang up his boots at the end of this on-going series against India.
No batsman even comes close (with Sunil Gavaskar a distant second) when it comes to the runs scored as an opener in Test cricket. He is not only England’s highest run-getter (12,254 runs) in the longest format but also their most capped player (160 Test matches).
Alastair Cook made his international debut against India at Nagpur during the 2006 Test series and struck a century on debut (a ton in the second innings). More than 12 years later, he is bidding adieu against the same team.
Cook has amassed more than 15,000 runs in international cricket and has represented England in 250+ games. Thus, as Cook prepares to play his final international game in the England shirt, we look back at some of his top knocks in international cricket.
#5 118 vs Sri Lanka – Galle (2007)
Galle has never been a friendly ground for visiting teams and visiting batsmen, in particular. Sri Lanka, more often than not boss the game and Galle can be termed as a fortress.
This 118 from Cook at Galle was a top quality innings and it was one of his early knocks which helped England save the game. Cook was about 18 months old in international cricket but he had already scored 6 Test hundreds.
England had lost the first game of this 3-match Test series before they drew the next one. Things looked bleak even in the third Test as they were bundled out for a mere 81 after Sri Lanka posted 499 batting first. England were tipped to meekly surrender and lose the series 0-2. However, a determined Alastair Cook had other ideas.
The then 23-year-old left-hander batted for more than 6 hours and faced 285 deliveries as he helped England pull off an unlikely draw. In his 118-run knock, he blunted out an attack that comprised of a rampaging Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga and the spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan. This was Cook’s second Test hundred in Asia after his debut ton at Nagpur.