Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England opener Alastair Cook has admitted that scoring a century in his final innings in international cricket was nothing short of a dream come true.
Cook soaked in the moment after scoring his 33rd Test century on the fourth day of the fifth Test against India at The Oval, and called it surreal.
The moment Alastair Cook reached his 33rd Test century in his last innings! 🙌
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 10, 2018
He ended up falling for 147, but walked off to a standing ovation and a series of handshakes from the Indian team.
“Ever since [my England retirement] was announced, I suppose you hope you have a good week. To top it off with a score here is just incredible. Sometimes dreams come true,” Cook was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “On a purely selfish level, even at the end, fielding at short leg with the Barmy Army singing, it’s why you play sport – occasionally those little selfish moments. It was very special. It’s just been a great week.
“It was a ‘don’t get out for nought’ game for me,” added Cook, who struck 71 in England’s first innings in the capital. “I didn’t really think about the hundred until I got into the eighties and I felt I had a chance.
“It was very emotional – there was definitely a lump in my throat with that ovation. I had about 30 friends here and family, so you couldn’t have scripted it. It’s one of those days where you will look back and forever go ‘Wow’.
“I remember seeing Nasser [Hussain] score a hundred in his final Test and I thought: ‘What a great way to finish!’ For me to say the last time I batted for England I got a hundred is special.”
During his knock, Cook surpassed legendary Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara to become the fifth-highest run-scorer in Test history.
In addition to this, Cook became only the fifth player to score a century in his first and last Tests. The other four players to have accomplished the rare feat are Bill Ponsford, Reggie Duff, Greg Chappell and Mohammad Azharuddin.
Furthermore, Cook is the only player to score a fifty and hundred in his first and last Tests, and occupies 10th place on the list of players with the most Test hundreds.
“It means a lot to see your name up there but it’s not what you strive to play for,” Cook said about passing Sangakkara. “It’s hundreds, winning moments and spending time with and developing a team. It’s been one hell of a journey.”
Despite excelling in his final match for England, Cook insisted that he has no intentions of changing his decision to retire.
“I will miss playing with great players and sitting in the changing room but the timing is right and it just makes this more special,” he said. “It’s such a nice way personally for me to go.
“This wasn’t just what’s happened in this series – it’s been an 18-month process and probably started last year against West Indies when I started noticing things in my game and my preparation.
“That edge isn’t there but it doesn’t mean you haven’t got it sometimes. When it’s your day, you can still score runs.”