Cook savours his spe­cial mo­ment

Warwickshire Telegraph - - SPORT - David Clough At Emi­rates River­side

ALAS­TAIR Cook al­lowed his renowned powers of con­cen­tra­tion the briefest break as he drank in for a mo­ment his achieve­ment at pass­ing 10,000 Test runs.

The job was al­ready done of course, with a trade­mark clip through mid­wicket to be­come the first English­man and youngest ever world­wide to reach five-fig­ures, be­fore he looked for once beyond the 22 yards.

As Eng­land were can­ter­ing to a se­ries-seal­ing nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the sec­ond In­vestec Test at Ch­ester-leStreet, he spot­ted his young daugh­ter and Ben Stokes’ son play­ing a game of their own at the foot of the pavil­ion.

For Cook, also watched by wife Alice and her par­ents, the snapshot beyond the bound­ary pro­vided per­sonal con­text for his his­toric achieve­ment.

It has taken him 10 years to join an elite 12 of the world’s great­est ever bats­men, headed by Sachin Ten­dulkar on 15,921.

The hard work has long been worth­while for the Eng­land cap­tain. But all can scarcely ever have been quite so right with the world as in the evening sun­shine, at the end of a per­sis­tently cloudy Test, 10,000 runs in the bag and about to knock off a tar­get of 79 for an unas­sail­able 2-0 se­ries lead.

Man-of-the-match James An­der­son’s eight wick­ets here took him past 450 in Tests, for good mea­sure, as Eng­land pre­vailed de­spite Di­nesh Chandi­mal’s 126 which kept the hosts wait­ing af­ter Sri Lanka had fol­lowed on 397 be­hind.

“When I was 20 odd not out I saw Elsie run­ning around with Lay­ton Stokes – and then you re­alise how spe­cial it all is,” said Cook. “It is a spe­cial mo­ment for me to join the club and the com­pany of the peo­ple who have scored 10,000 runs.”

He seemed sure at start of play to have to wait un­til next week at Lord’s, with Eng­land need­ing only five more Sri Lanka wick­ets for un­der 88 to win by an in­nings. But Chandi­mal had other ideas, and in the end Cook was grate­ful.

“Clearly, every­one has been talk­ing about it over the last cou­ple of weeks,” he said. “It should not play on your mind but it did, and I can’t deny that.”

The only shame for Cook was that his mum and dad made the highly rea­son­able call that he would not have a sec­ond in­nings, and there­fore went home be­fore the fourth day.

“The 10,000 has been a mile­stone that has driven me over the last few years,” he added.

“You get tested at the top of the order in all con­di­tions against the best bowlers bowl­ing with the new ball ... and I’m glad I have hung around long enough not to get dropped.”

There was sat­is­fac­tion too, of course, at back-to-back vic­to­ries - this sec­ond much hard­erearned than an­tic­i­pated.

“To win a game by an in­nings and then by nine wick­ets is a good ef­fort,” Cook said. “It was tough. The pitch died a death and was a bit more like Colombo than the Ch­ester-le-Street we have known in the past.

“They made us work hard for it, and some­times it is a bit sweeter that way be­cause you feel you have earned it. It was a slog to­day and yes­ter­day, and James An­der­son’s five for 50 in those con­di­tions showed his class.”

af­ter An­der­son pointed out his cap­tain’s four-pint limit in the bar, the man him­self con­firmed there will be no ex­cep­tion - even for 10,000 runs.

“OK, I’ll be hav­ing my three­and-a-half pints,” he said. “One of them will be a shandy top ... as long as Jimmy buys me one.”

Di­nesh Chandi­mal carves his way to­wards a cen­tury that re­stored Sri Lanka’s pride but couldn’t deny Eng­land tak­ing a 2-0 se­ries lead.

Alas­tair Cook.

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