Birthday Special: Alastair Cook’s five most glorious knocks

Alastair Cook

One of the most prolific batsmen to have ever played the game, Alastair Cook was known for his robust technique, temperament, and patience. He represented England in a whopping 161 Tests in his illustrious career, amassing 12,472 runs at 45.35, including 33 centuries and 57 half-centuries. Despite his magnificent exploits in the whites, Cook did not materialize his talent as much in the limited-overs cricket, where he represented his nation in 92 ODIs and 4 T20Is only. On his 38th birthday, let us take a look at some of his finest knocks.

104 versus India – Nagpur, 2006

Cook announced himself on the big stage by hitting a solid half-century in his first-ever Test innings aged just 21. He flew from Antigua to Nagpur to make his debut after Marcus Trescothick pulled out of the tour due to illness. After a gritty 60 from 160, the 21-year-old Cook followed it up with a spectacular and unbeaten 104 in the second innings and became only the fifth Englishman ever to score a ton and a fifty on his Test debut.

118 versus Sri Lanka – Galle, 2007

The subcontinent has never been a friendly place for visiting batsmen. The match-saving 118 from Cook at Galle in the second-innings was a knock for the ages that came early in his career and helped his team avoid a defeat. The southpaw batted for more than 6 hours and faced 285 deliveries as he helped England pull off an unlikely draw after they were dismissed for a mere 81 in the first innings following a mammoth 499 posted by Sri Lanka.

110 versus Pakistan – The Oval, 2010

With scores of 8, 12, 17, 4, and 6 in the first five innings of the series against Pakistan, there were all sorts of speculations doing rounds about Cook’s position in the eleven in 2010. However, coming out of his lean patch, he shut all the critics with a magnificent 110 in the second innings of the Oval Test, when the second-highest scorer in the innings was Jonathan Trott (36). Although England lost the Test, his knock cemented a spot for him in the team.

294 versus India – Edgbaston, 2011

Cook has astounding numbers to his name in the Test format, but a triple ton remained elusive. The left-hander came the closest to achieving the landmark against India in 2011 after the hosts England dismissed India for just 224 in the first innings – less than what Cook managed alone during the first innings. Before the Edgbaston Test, he managed merely 20 runs in four innings, however through his nearly-triple ton, England thrashed India by an innings and 242 runs.

244* versus Australia – Melbourne, 2017

The 32nd and the second-last ton of Alastair Cook came against arch-rivals Australia. Coming into the fourth Test at Melbourne, England had already lost the Ashes 2017, but they still needed to avoid the embarrassing whitewash. Cook spent almost 11 hours on the crease and carried his bat through his 244 not out to provide his team with a massive lead. Though the match ended in a draw, Cook was awarded the Player of the Match for his incredible knock.