England‘s retiring batsman Alastair Cook said the final Test of his career has been one of the most ‘surreal’ of his cricketing life.
Cook finished his England batting career with a fine 147 against India at The Oval on Monday.
The veteran was applauded numerous times by the crowd in south London and he did not disappoint the 19,000 spectators, reaching his 33rd century in 161 Tests in strange circumstances – through four overthrows.
The former England captain struggled to explain how it all felt. “It’s been the most surreal four days of my life really,” he said. “I suppose if she (Alice, his wife) goes into labour tonight that will probably top it off but it’s been incredible.
“There’s a few of my friends here as well so for that all to happen today and every reception I’ve had over the last four days it’s just been incredible. Even that last couple of overs when the whole crowd were singing my Barmy Army (fan) songs, incredibly special.”
When asked if it was his best day ever in cricket, Cook said it was a “different day”.
“On a purely selfish point of view I couldn’t have asked for a better week for me so yes on that side but obviously there have been bigger things in more important games that have meant more.”
Cook said the match had been emotional for him with family and friends in attendance.
“To perform and have a day like that I suppose after 160 other games, it’s a nice way to go.”
The incident occurred during the second day of the fifth Test against India, when the England bowler grabbed his cap from Dharmasena before saying something to the umpire.
In Buttler’s opinion, it wasn’t much.
“Shared probably a couple of words and that’s about it,” Buttler said.
See what else Buttler had to say in the video below.
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 Test would have been still more substantial without the revival engineered by India’s charismatic all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja (86 not out) 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 off-bail.
It was an unedifying end to Jennings’ largely fallow Test summer with the bat, especially after he had earlier dropped the catch at short-leg which reprieved India number 11 Jasprit Bumrah and cost England 32 runs.
Six days after his 'nothing-left-in-the-tank' declaration, Alastair Cook is still running, in better condition than at any time during the summer. On the cusp of another 50, what odds he keeps motoring to a farewell century?— Peter Jackson (@JackoRugby) September 9, 2018
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 563 wickets, 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, caught-behind 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 buccaneering 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 – one last time.