November 15, 2018, 1:30

England v India: All you need to know from day four at The Oval

England v India: All you need to know from day four at The Oval


Watch highlights from day four of the fifth Test

A farewell ton for Cook, a long-awaited one for Root, backing for Jennings and Anderson matching McGrath – the notables from an emotional day at The Oval.


The Report

Alastair Cook signed off in style with a 33rd Test hundred in his final innings in international cricket on a remarkable day at The Oval, writes Sam Drury.

Cook earned a rapturous and heartfelt ovation as he brought up his hundred just before lunch and went on to make 147 before leaving the field to further acclaim.

2:51 Watch the pick of Cook's 147 at The Oval

Joe Root (125) also reached three figures, ending a run of 11 unconverted fifties in Tests, in a partnership of 259 with Cook setting England up to declare on 423-8 – at which point James Anderson took over to move level with Glenn McGrath on 563 Test wickets, the record among fast bowlers.

The Lancastrian had Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara lbw in the space of four balls and Stuart Broad (1-17) then nicked out Virat Kohli for a golden duck to leave India floundering at 2-3 before they recovered to 58-3 in pursuit of a notional 464 by stumps.

Moment of the Day

0:31 Overthrows from Jasprit Bumrah saw Cook to his 33rd Test century

It has to be Cook notching his 33rd century in his final innings, for the emotion, the adulation – and the pure comic value! Jasprit Bumrah has bowled brilliantly in this series but his slapdash fielding allowed Cook to reach three figures, with the seamer’s overthrow flying away to the boundary.

The Oval stood in unison to applaud the outgoing opener, with a large chunk possibly wondering why on earth he is calling it quits! He was done on 147 when he snicked off-spinner Hanuma Vihari behind and duly received handshakes from each member of the Indian team and a magnificent reception from the crowd. Cookie out!

Stats of the Day

Cook is the fifth player to complete the symmetrical record of hitting a hundred in their first and last Tests, after India’s Mohammad Azharuddin and Australia’s Greg Chappell, Reginald Duff and William Ponsford. Cook’s first century also came against India, the left-hander notching an unbeaten 104 on debut in Nagpur in 2006.

The batsman is also now the fifth-highest run-scorer in the history of Test cricket, plus the leading left-hander, after overtaking Kumar Sangakkara’s tally of 12,400 when he reached 76. Messrs Tendulkar (15,921), Ponting (13,378), Kallis (13,289) and Dravid (13,288) are the only players above him on that esteemed list.

Talking Point

With Cook moving on to 12,472 runs and playing beautifully, plus the travails of Keaton Jennings – he is averaging 22.09 in Test cricket – and, bar Rory Burns, no county openers banging the door down, you couldn’t blame the selectors if they tried to convince their record run-scorer to postpone his retirement. Nasser Hussain, though, says that would be an error.

“Some will say: ‘Can’t you convince Cook to carry on?’ but I am completely against that. This is too good an opportunity for him to end on a high. When you are a great like Cook, end your career with people saying ‘Didn’t you go a bit early?’ and not ‘You should have gone a few months ago’. It’s never been ‘Can he do this anymore?’, it’s if he wants to do it. He has to dig so deep to get these sorts of scores.”

7:28 Cook's glittering England career ended in fine style

Rob Key also questioned why, after all he has achieved, Cook was deployed at short leg late in the day. He’s got a point. Surely he deserves a gig in a glamour position!

What they said

Alastair Cook: “Ever since [my England retirement] was announced, I suppose you hope you have a good week. To top it off with a score here is just incredible. Sometimes dreams come true’.

“It was very emotional – there was a lump in my throat with that ovation. I had about 30 friends here and family, so you couldn’t have scripted it. It’s one of those days where you will look back and forever go ‘Wow’.”

6:27 Alastair Cook says 'you couldn't have scripted' him getting a century in his final England innings

Nasser Hussain: “You’d have to be a fool to write off Cook. If he has one more chance in him you know he will give it the absolute utmost. The week he has had, the pressure he has been under, everything he has had to do, the emotional strain he has been under – to be able to dig deep and put in such a performance was Cook at his best. Vintage Cook. It was a special hundred and not an ugly hundred.”

Michael Atherton: England will miss his runs, albeit that they have dried up in the main, but they will also miss him setting the right example in preparation and training and the way he carries himself. Duncan Fletcher said every team had a critical mass of players who pushed the team in the right direction and Cook is clearly one of those.”

England National selector Ed Smith: “I would say Keaton [Jennings] has had a very tough reintroduction to Test cricket and that should be taken into account. I have never seen the ball swing and seam as much as it has done this summer and some of the pitches have turned as well.”

Tweets of the Day

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