Ashes 2017: Alastair Cook carries bat with 244 not out to break 45-year-old record

first_imgAs Pat Cummins dismissed James Anderson for a duck off the first ball on Day 4, it left Alastair Cook stranded on 244* as England posted 491 in their first innings with a lead of 164 runs over Australia in the fourth Test. Cook set a stack of records during his marathon innings, which started on Wednesday and spanned more than 10-and-a-half hours at the crease.Cook’s score is now the highest by an opener to have carried his bat through an innings surpassing New Zealand opener Glenn Turner’s 223* against the West Indies way back in 1972. The left-hander also became the first batsman to achieve the rare feat in an Ashes series since Geoffrey Boycott at Perth in 1979The 33-year-old is also the first England batsman in 20 years to carry his bat, with Mike Atherton (94 not out) the last to do so against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1997.Cook’s effort was the 52nd time a player has achieved the feat in over 130 years of Test cricket. Only 46 players have ever carried their bat in the longest form of the game.The last to do so was West Indies’ Kraigg Brathwaite, who was 142 not out against Pakistan in Sharjah last year.Cook’s 244 not out is also the highest score by a touring batsman at the MCG. The 208 scored by West Indies’ Viv Richards in 1984 was the previous record.The former England captain is also the first player to carry his bat through a full innings in a Test at the MCG, Test cricket’s oldest ground, having hosted the sport’s inaugural Test in 1877.This is his fifth double hundred and he is now joint-13 with Rahul Dravid and Graeme Smith on the list of batsmen with most double centuries.advertisementCook’s technique became the talking point of the media and for all the pundits out there, some even asking him to be replaced after a dismal show in the first three matches. He could only manage 83 in six innings.He was struggling to deal with the pace and bounce of the Australian quicks, who dominated him and his mind.But form is temporary, class is permanent they say. And as England looked to avoid a second consecutive whitewash Down Under, the old horse’s batting was in full flow. He forged a lone battle for his team, slamming a double ton in 360 balls on Day 3 and gave the visitors a first innings lead for the first time in the series.During his knock he also moved past two West Indies greats to be sixth on the all-time test runs list. He eclipsed Shivnarine Chanderpaul (11,867) and then Brian Lara (11,953) with a sumptuous off-drive for four from the penultimate ball of the day.”I can’t really explain that. I just feel sorry for Brian Lara,” Cook said to raise a laugh from reporters after the end of play on Day 3.”It’s a special moment to see your name up there.”The England opener got quite emotional at the end of day three’s play and acknowledged the fact that his form came back a little too late for his and the country’s liking.”After all the emotion came out yesterday to get a real big one for the team was really important,” Cook told reporters after striding off the MCG to a standing ovation.I’ve doubted myself for 12 years and I’ll probably continue to doubt myself but obviously the longer it goes the harder it becomes,” said Cook.”But I suppose that’s why I can be quite proud…Going to the well again and delivering a performance like that was pleasing. It’s just a shame it’s three-four weeks too late, I’ll have to live with that for a long time but it’s nice to score a few,” he added.last_img read more