Alastair Cook records series-best score as curtain falls on England career
The former captain is retiring from international cricket following this Test against India.
Alastair Cook registered his highest score of the series as the focus fell on him in England’s final Test match of the summer against India.
Cook was unbeaten on 37 at lunch on the first day of the fifth Test at The Oval, the match that will mark the end of the prolific opener’s 12-year international career.
England’s only setback in the opening session was the loss of Keaton Jennings for 23, leaving them 68 for one at the interval.
The day began with a series of tributes to Cook. The 33-year-old was presented with a commemorative cap to mark his 161st and final appearance before play began while India’s players and umpires formed a guard of honour as he walked to the crease.
Cook was given an early opportunity to bat after captain Joe Root won his fifth successive toss.
Cook’s outside edge was beaten a few times early in his innings but he settled and found some fluency, notably with consecutive boundaries coming in one Jasprit Bumrah over. He moved past his previous highest score of the series, 29.
While Cook was probably eyeing a big knock, Jennings returned another low score.
Jennings, who is still to secure his place in the side, had been relatively untroubled in an opening stand of 60 but then turned Ravrindra Jadeja to KL Rahul at leg slip. He punched his bat in frustration.
Moeen Ali, two not out, was alongside Cook at lunch.
Jadeja came in as India, trailing 3-1 in the series, made two changes to their team. He replaced Ravi Ashwin while debutant batsman Hanuma Vihari came in for all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
England were unchanged although Jonny Bairstow was due to reclaim wicketkeeping duties from Jos Buttler having recovered from a broken finger.