6 Chef’s Specials – Some of Cook’s best innings
Even Alastair Cook’s farewell 147 did not match up to his pivotal England innings.
Throughout his Test career, Alastair Cook has been renowned for his remarkable powers of concentration at the crease.
Here, Press Association Sport recalls six of the best innings in his record-breaking career:
NAGPUR 2005/06 (104 not out, v India)
On debut, less than two days after flying 6,000 miles from an A tour in the West Indies to replace Marcus Trescothick, a 21-year-old Cook put his first Test half-century on the board. In his second attempt, he reached three figures for the first time – a remarkable achievement which served notice of an extraordinary career to come.
BRISBANE 2010/11 (235no, v Australia)
The most memorable of all his centuries perhaps, this double gave England the belief they needed at the start of their first Ashes series victory down under in almost a quarter of a century. Andrew Strauss’ tourists looked washed up at the Gabba, with a 221-run first-innings deficit. But Cook, his captain and Jonathan Trott had other ideas – closing out the stalemate on 517 for one declared. He batted a mere 625 minutes, facing 428 balls.
EDGBASTON 2011 (294 v India)
Purpose-driven, as England went to the top of the world rankings with an innings-and-242-run win, this demands inclusion too for sheer volume. As with his other tour de force efforts, there was so much to admire if relatively little to excite in almost 13 hours of crease occupation. Afterwards, typically,
Cook was most concerned not about the runs he had scored but the six more he did not.
AHMEDABAD 2012/13 (176, v India)
No glorious victory, or even a draw, for this forerunner of the marathon 263 he would undertake three winters later against Pakistan in similar conditions in Abu Dhabi. His Ahmedabad statement of intent was the first of Cook’s three centuries on a tour which brought England their first series success in India since he was in nappies. Following on, he played a near lone hand – Matt Prior provided most support – and it appeared in vain en route to a nine-wicket defeat. But once again, he had demonstrated what was possible – and after two more brilliant Cook hundreds in the next two Tests, England went on to prevail 2-1 on his maiden tour as captain.
LORD’S 2015 (162, v New Zealand)
There was rich context here, at the start of an Ashes summer and with plenty of chattering still going on about Cook’s captaincy amid much administrative change above him. He dug in manfully and with great skill, for his first home century in almost two years – and after Ben Stokes took his cue with a blistering century, the fastest ever at Lord’s, England turned likely defeat into a dramatic, heartening and emphatic win.
MELBOURNE 2017 (244* v Australia)
It was in a losing cause in the series overall and this was his last Test hundred before his ton against India at The Oval. It was an important innings too, stopping the rot and the prospect of a whitewash on a dismal Ashes tour, far removed from the glorious one of 2010/11. Cook faced 409 balls across nearly 11 hours, Joe Root’s 61 his nearest rival. It was also an important reminder at the time, for those who said Cook was finished. He was not.