Ap­plause and adu­la­tion is driv­ing on Cook in his last Test, be­lieves Far­brace

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID CLOUGH

ENG­LAND are hop­ing Alastair Cook can ride the wave of public adu­la­tion and re­ward sup­port­ers by com­plet­ing a farewell hun­dred in his fi­nal Test in­nings at The Oval.

Cook could be ex­cused for be­ing dis­tracted in the 161st Test of his record-break­ing ca­reer by the due date for his and wife Alice’s third child on day four against In­dia.

But by close of play on day three in this fifth Spec­savers Test the stoic opener was show­ing no signs of any­thing but his famed de­ter­mi­na­tion as he dug out an un­beaten 46 in a sec­ond-in­nings 114-2, which gave Eng­land a lead of 154.

At the prospect of veteran Cook match­ing his age with a 33rd Test century, as­sis­tant coach Paul Far­brace’s eyes lit up.

“It’d be fan­tas­tic, wouldn’t it?” he said. “It’d be ab­so­lutely bril­liant.

“I think he’s just en­joy­ing milk­ing all the ap­plause he’s get­ting. I think it’s just driv­ing him on to bat as long as he pos­si­bly can.”

Cook, who made a century on Test de­but 12 years ago and has since be­come Eng­land’s all-time record run-scorer, has al­ready banked five stand­ing ova­tions this week and is as­sured of at least two more on his way into bat and back out, what­ever he achieves in be­tween.

Far­brace added: “He’s shown ev­ery­thing that he’s about so far in this game.

“He’s just got stuck in, and it’s not easy out there, but he looks as though he’s re­ally en­joy­ing the scrap.”

With Cook, even as an ex­pec­tant fa­ther again, Far­brace knows there will be no loss of con­cen­tra­tion.

“He’s been pretty calm,” he said. “I’d imag­ine the re­cep­tion he got when he went out to bat prob­a­bly moved him – it moved ev­ery­body else in our dress­ing- room, the fan­tas­tic sup­port he’s had. He just seems to cope with ev­ery­thing that’s in front of him.

“As much as we’re go­ing to miss his runs and his catches, I think the calm­ing in­flu­ence he has among the team, the staff, ev­ery­body ... is some­thing we’ll all miss when he’s not in the dress­ing-room.”


ALASTAIR COOK can dream of a 33rd Test century in the fi­nal in­nings of his record-break­ing ca­reer af­ter steering Eng­land to stumps against In­dia at The Oval.

Cook was still bat­tling away un­beaten, on 46, as he so of­ten has through­out his 161 Tests, in a to­tal of 114-2 as Eng­land ex­tended their over­all lead to 154 af­ter bowl­ing In­dia out for 292.

Home ad­van­tage on day three of this fifth Spec­savers Test would have been still more sub­stan­tial with­out the re­vival en­gi­neered by In­dia’s charis­matic all­rounder Ravin­dra Jadeja (86no) and Hanuma Vi­hari (56).

The tourists re­sumed on 174-6 and ap­peared sure to trail sig­nif­i­cantly un­til the sev­enth-wicket pair took their stand to 77, and 132 were added in all for the last four to fall.

As Cook then set out to con­sol­i­date, he was cheered and clapped to the mid­dle by his fourth stand­ing ova­tion of the week here – be­fore a hand­shake from In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli as he pre­pared to take guard.

He soon lost his open­ing part­ner Keaton Jen­nings, in wor­ry­ing cir­cum­stances as the man still ex­pected to try to form the back­bone of Eng­land in­nings into this win­ter and per­haps be­yond shoul­dered arms to Mo­hammed Shami and lost his off­bail.

It was an uned­i­fy­ing end to Jen­nings’s largely fal­low Test sum­mer with the bat, es­pe­cially af­ter he had ear­lier dropped the catch at short-leg that re­prieved In­dia No 11 Jasprit Bum­rah and cost Eng­land 32 runs.

Cook spent 26 balls stuck on 13 ei­ther side of tea.

But he uncovered oc­ca­sional flu­ency, in an un­bro­ken 50 stand with his cap­tain Joe Root af­ter Jadeja had spun one through the gate to bowl Moeen Ali, and there were no ma­jor alarms to the close.

As has been the cu­ri­ous case through­out this match so far, bat dom­i­nated ball be­fore lunch, thanks to Jadeja and Vi­hari this time.

James An­der­son, still three wick­ets short of over­haul­ing Aus­tralia great Glenn McGrath’s world record of 363 for any pace bowler, drew a blank along­side Stu­art Broad.

Debu­tant Vi­hari, who would have been lbw for nought to Broad the pre­vi­ous evening if Eng­land had gone to DRS, com­pleted his half-century from 104 balls.

It took Jadeja, re­turn­ing here for his first Test of the series, nine de­liv­er­ies more and into the af­ter­noon be­fore he cut Moeen for his sev­enth bound­ary to reach the same mile­stone.

Vi­hari’s dis­missal, caugh­t­be­hind push­ing up the line as Mooen’s arm ball drifted across him, was the only one be­fore lunch.

Ishant Sharma went in near ac­tion re­play to Moeen in early af­ter­noon, and then Shami got greedy against Adil Rashid and holed out at long-on.

Jadeja would have been left stranded at 260 all out if Jen­nings had held a sharp catch off bat and pad when Rashid’s goo­gly was too much for Bum­rah.

But he did not and Jadeja, who had cel­e­brated his 50 with a trade­mark swish of his imag­i­nary Ra­jasthan war­rior’s sword, cashed in as the bucca- neer­ing pres­ence in a last-wicket stand.

As Root’s field plac­ings and bowl­ing changes sent out mixed mes­sages, Bum­rah faced only 14 out of 54 de­liv­er­ies – and Jadeja mem­o­rably smashed the sec­ond new ball straight back over An­der­son’s head for six.

In­dia’s fun, and Eng­land’s frus­tra­tion, fi­nally ended when Bum­rah was run out chanc­ing a tight sin­gle. Then, of course, it was over to Cook – for one last time.


FI­NAL IN­NINGS: Eng­land’s Alastair Cook at­tempts a sweep dur­ing his last Test in­nings for his coun­try that will ex­tend into to­day af­ter he fin­ished 46 not out overnight at The Oval in the fifth and fi­nal Test against In­dia.


TAK­ING A BREAK: Eng­land’s Alastair Cook, left, and team-mate Joe Root wait for a new ball to be given to In­dia at The Oval yes­ter­day dur­ing their un­bro­ken stand of 50 on day three of the fifth and fi­nal Test. Eng­land will re­sume on 114-2 in their sec­ond in­nings.

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