From Nagpur to Brisbane, a look at Alastair Cook's five greatest Test innings

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Cook's record in the subcontinent is the best by any non-Asian batsman.

As Alastair Cook gets ready for his international swansong with, the tributes have been pouring in from all quarters.

Described as the rock of England’s batting by his mentor Graham Gooch, the England opener has played many an innings of note in the span of his 160-Test long international career.

We take a look at five of the greatest innings played by the southpaw.

104 – India v England, Nagpur 2006

It is no surprise to see Cook’s maiden Test century features in the list given the circumstances it was scored in. Following his performances for the England Lions in their tour of the Caribbean, Cook was drafted in as a last-minute replacement for Michael Vaughan in the first Test against India at Nagpur.

The then 21-year-old notched up a 160-ball 60 in the first innings before registering his maiden Test ton in the second innings in conditions completely alien to the ones he was accustomed to at Chelmsford with Essex. In doing so, the left-hander became only the fifth Englishman to score a century and a half-century in his debut Test.

Cook stood tall for England in the second innings.

Cook stood tall for England in the second innings.

110 – England v Pakistan, Oval 2010

One of the hallmarks of Cook’s England career has been his ability to bounce back from the toughest of situations. During Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010, the opener had only managed just 47 runs from the first five innings and his place in the squad was being questioned.

The turnaround came in the second innings of the third Test at The Oval where Cook slammed a majestic 110 in testing conditions. Despite England losing the match, that innings cemented Cook’s position in the team at a time when murmurs of a potential axing were growing.

Cook showed his mental fortitude with a gritty knock.

Cook showed his mental fortitude with a gritty knock.

294 – England v India, Edgbaston 2011

The Edgbaston Test between England and India was another example of Cook’s ability to bounce back from a lean spell. Prior to the match, the southpaw had only aggregated 20 runs in his four innings.

After England bowled India out for 224 in their first innings, Cook and Andrew Strauss put on 186 runs for the opening wicket before the latter was dismissed. Cook, though, marched on with a chanceless innings of 294. Not once did the opening batsman give any opportunity to the bowlers in his 13-hour vigil at the crease as England declared after a mammoth 710-7.

A maiden triple-ton eluded him after he holed out following his first lapse of concentration but his innings remains the sixth-highest by an England batsman.

The left-hander fell just six runs shy of a maiden triple-ton.

The left-hander fell just six runs shy of a maiden triple-ton.

190 – India v England, Kolkata 2012

That Cook absolutely loves batting against India seems a distant memory following his struggles in the ongoing Test series but it remains a fact.

Taking over the England captaincy from Strauss in 2012, Cook went on to register three tons in as many matches on the team’s tour of India. In the third Test at Kolkata, the opening batsman was once again unflappable as he piled on 190 runs in England’s first innings. It took a run-out to end his stay at the crease but his knock had ensured victory for the visitors which gave them a 2-1 lead in the series. It was a lead Cook and his men would not relinquish as England completed a Test series win in India for the first time in 28 years.

Cook’s ability to thrive in subcontinent conditions set him apart from many other overseas batsmen. The nine tons he has scored in those conditions is the most by any non-Asian batsman in history.

Cook set up a historic series win in India with his 190.

Cook set up a historic series win in India with his 190.

235 – Australia v England, Brisbane 2010

In the first Ashes Test of 2010-11 at Brisbane, Australia had taken a huge 221-run lead in the first innings. With their backs against the wall, England put up monumental 517-1 in the second innings before declaring.

Cook led England’s reply with an unbeaten 235 which was his second century ton on Australian soil. That was just the start of a prolific series for the batsman who would go on to aggregate 766 runs in eight innings in the series as England won the Ashes Down Under for the first time in over 24 years. That incredible run from Cook included tons at Adelaide and Sydney too.

Cook's Brisbane knock was the start of a prolific Ashes.

Cook’s Brisbane knock was the start of a prolific Ashes.

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Live Cricket Blog: India's Mohammed Siraj continues impressive red-ball form

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Catch all the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

Hello, the Sport360 team is in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout your day and week but we want you to get involved too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

10:00pm – India’s Mohammed Siraj continues impressive red-ball run

India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj has been in sensational form with the red ball this season. He has consistently been among the top wicket-takers in the domestic circuit and also in international matches with the ‘A’ team. The Hyderabad pacer is quickly gaining a reputation as a long-term Test prospect and he strengthened that belief with another super effort against Australia ‘A’.

Read more on Siraj’s latest performance against Australia ‘A’ here.

Siraj picked up 8-59 in the first unofficial Test at Bengaluru.

Siraj picked up 8-59 in the first unofficial Test at Bengaluru.

9:00pm – Alastair Cook tributes keep pouring in

Former and current players including the legendary Sachin Tendulkar have all paid their tributes to Alastair Cook after the England opener announced his intentions to retire from international cricket.

As the opening batsman gets ready to wind down his England career, we have compiled a list of five career options he could take to following his retirement. The left-hander’s time with England has coincided with some of the best Test players produced by the country. Find out who makes the cut in England’s best Test XI in the Alastair Cook era here.

Cook has had some illustrious teammates over the years.

Cook has had some illustrious teammates over the years.

8:00pm – Virat Kohli frustrated with India’s inability to finish the job

Virat Kohli lauded the intensity shown by his men in the fourth Test against England at Southampton but the India skipper believes it is imperative for his side to learn the art of finishing the job.

Read what the India skipper had to say about his side’s overseas woes here. To watch the video, click here.

Kohli's men were unable to salvage the series against England.

Kohli’s men were unable to salvage the series against England.

7:00pm – Hasan Ali beats Virat Kohli’s fitness score

Pakistan players underwent fitness tests during their ongoing training camp in Lahore and according to reports, 17 out of the 18 members passed the Yo-Yo test.

Apparently, fast bowler Hasan Ali had the highest score of 20 which makes him one of the fittest cricketers not only in the subcontinent but also world cricket.

Read how the Pakistan pacer’s scores compare to that of Virat Kohli here.

Acing the Yo-Yo Test: Hasan Ali.

Acing the Yo-Yo Test: Hasan Ali.

6:00pm – Mentor Graham Gooch pays glowing tribute to Alastair Cook

Graham Gooch has paid tribute to Alastair Cook as “the rock of England‘s batting” and a “great person as well as a great cricketer”.

Cook, who has announced his impending international retirement after this week’s Oval Test, was Gooch’s protege who went on to far surpass even his revered mentor’s record run-making achievements.

Read what Gooch had to say on his protege here.

Gooch has played a vital role in shaping Cook's career.

Gooch has played a vital role in shaping Cook’s career.

5:00pm – Pakistan’s Imad Wasim fails Yo-Yo Test

Pakistan left-arm spinning all-rounder Imad Wasim failed to pass the fitness test on Monday and will give another attempt on Tuesday, according to reports from Pakistan.

Read more on this developing story here.

Another Yo-Yo fitness test beckons for Imad Wasim.

Another Yo-Yo fitness test beckons for Imad Wasim.

3:00pm- Alastair Cook to retire after Test series against India

England’s all-time record run-scorer Alastair Cook will retire from international cricket after this week’s Oval Test.

Cook, who has made 12,254 runs in a 160-Test career over the past 12 years, issued a statement on Monday confirming the news.

Read more on it here.

Time to call it a day: Alastair Cook.

Time to call it a day: Alastair Cook.

1:00pm – Virat Kohli leads run-scoring charts in England-India series

Sports360’s Stuart Appleby takes a look at some of the numbers from the four Tests so far between England and India. India skipper Virat Kohli is currently leading the run-scoring charts in the series with 544 runs in eight innings at an average of 68.

Read more on those stats more here.

Virat Kohli has scored 544 runs so far in the series.

Virat Kohli has scored 544 runs so far in the series.

11:00am – UAE becoming the centre of the cricketing universe

The UAE is set to become the centre of the cricket universe over the next six months with five different T20 tournaments, a T10 tournament, the Asia Cup and the Australia-Pakistan series taking over cricket pitches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Read about the jam-packed cricket schedule in the UAE here.

Luke Ronchi batting for the Punjabi Legends in last year's T10 League.

Luke Ronchi batting for the Punjabi Legends in last year’s T10 League.

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Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann among greatest England Test XI in Alastair Cook era

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Cook has had some illustrious teammates over the years.

An illustrious international career which has spanned more than 12 overs years is about to come to an end with Alastair Cook set to bid goodbye to England colours following the completion of the final Test against India.

England’s all-time record run-scorer has endured criticism for his patchy form over the past two years but there is no doubt that he will go down as one of the greatest openers to have played the game.

Over his 12-year international career spanning 160 Tests, Cook has played with some equally illustrious team-mates.

Here, we look at the best England Test XI the 33-year-old has played with during his international career.

ANDREW STRAUSS

Cook’s partnership with Strauss at the top is something England have struggled to replicate ever since the latter’s retirement in 2012. The opening pair became only the fourth in history to complete 100 innings together in Test cricket during England’s away series against Pakistan in 2012.

ALASTAIR COOK

Of course Cook features in the list himself given his contributions to English cricket. With 32 tons and over 12,000 runs to his name after 160 Tests, there aren’t many openers in the history of the game who have stayed at the top for so long as Cook.

England have still not been able to replicate the Cook-Strauss pairing.

England have still not been able to replicate the Cook-Strauss pairing.

IAN BELL

With 118 Tests under his belt, Ian Bell was for long a stalwart in the Cook-led England side. The technically sound batsman was the hero of England’s Ashes victory over Australia in 2013 registering centuries in each of his side’s three wins. He also played a big role in England’s first overseas Test victory over India since 1984-85.

JOE ROOT

Cook’s successor as England captain could be the man who overhauls his run tally by the time he hangs up his boots. The England Test skipper recently breached the 6,000-run mark in Test cricket, taking 127 innings to get there compared to the 131 taken by Cook himself. He is Cook’s successor in more ways than one and is set to be the bedrock of England’s batting for some time to come.

KEVIN PIETERSEN

Controversial though he might be, there is no doubt that Kevin Pietersen is one of the best middle-order batsmen to put on the England whites. He registered 23 Test tons over the course of his career but perhaps none was as important as his first-ever Ashes ton at the Oval in 2005 which sealed the return of the urn to England after a gap of 17 years.

ANDREW FLINTOFF

The man for the big occasion, they don’t quite make them like Freddie anymore. The England all-rounder’s numbers with both bat and ball are nothing out of the ordinary but he had that rare ability to lift the spirits of the entire team. His most lasting contribution to English cricket came in the 2005 Ashes series win.

Flintoff was England's catalyst for many famous wins.

Flintoff starred in many famous England wins.

MATT PRIOR

With a Test batting average of over 40 after 79 matches, Prior was another vital cog in England’s rise to the top of the Test rankings. A no nonsense batsman, Prior was England’s chirpy cheerleader from behind the stumps. His solid contributions with both bat and gloves saw him awarded England’s cricketer of the year award in 2013.

GRAEME SWANN

It is hard to believe that a man who made his Test debut at the age of 28 would go down as one of England’s greatest spinners but that is exactly what Swann achieved. He retired five years later but by then he had picked up 255 wickets in just 60 Tests. During that prolific five-year spell, the off-spinner was the highest wicket-taker among all active bowlers in Test cricket.

JAMES ANDERSON

The veteran will probably feature in any England Test XI or World XI for that matter. With 559 Test wickets to his name, Anderson is currently on the verge of overtaking Glenn McGrath as the all-time leading wicket-taker among pacers. For long, he was Cook’s trusted lieutenant with the new ball and it is testament to Anderson’s longevity that he has been able to outlast his former skipper in the Test arena.

STUART BROAD

If Anderson has been one half of the pace attack which has accompanied Cook and England’s rise to the top, Broad is the other. The 32-year-old has gone past 400 Test wickets already and his new-ball partnership with Anderson remains one of the most prolific in the history of the game.

Anderson and Broad were Cook's trusted new-ball pairing for long.

Anderson and Broad were Cook’s trusted new-ball pairing for long.

STEVE HARMISON

The Ashington-born pacer blew hot and cold but when on song, he was one of the most difficult bowlers to face up given the pace and bounce he generated. His most important contribution in England colours came in the 2005 Ashes series at Edgbaston where his wicket to dismiss Michael Kasprowicz sealed a thrilling two-run win to level the series.

His inconsistencies aside, Harmison’s 226 scalps in 63 Tests is enough to warrant his selection as the designated third seamer in the playing XI.

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