Cook gets century but Anderson steals show in Fifth Test
Alastair Cook bowed out of international cricket with a stunning 147 in his final at bat for England against India at The Oval. Cook became only the fifth player to get a century in his first and last Tests but even this achievement was overshadowed by James Anderson.
Alastair Cook showed the quality England will be missing as he signed off from England duty with a wonderful 147 as a rampant England excelled with both the bat and the ball. It has been an extraordinary Test series and it was fitting that James Anderson took the final wicket to become the most successful fast bowler in the history of Test cricket.
When the 36-year-old took the final wicket of Mohammed Shami, it gave England the win by 118 runs and the series victory by 4-1. But, on a personal level, it gave Anderson his 564th wicket, beating the previous record that was set by legendary Australian Glenn McGrath.
Anderson will probably have felt aggrieved he didn’t break the record earlier. India looked demotivated and shell-shocked towards the end of play on day four. Anderson took full advantage and dismissed Shikhar Dhawan and then Cheteshwar Pujara in the space of three balls to draw level with the record.
England couldn’t take advantage of the wobble and Rahul and Pant’s 204-run stand gave the Indian fans hope, no matter how slight, of an incredible come back. These hopes were soon dashed when Rashid dismissed both players in successive overs to end all realistic chances of a fightback.
The remaining three wickets fell quickly. Sam Curran once again showed true all-rounder ability by taking the wickets of Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja, before Anderson secured his legendary status by taking out Shami with a full, straight delivery.
Alastair Cook’s decision to retire from the international scene is bound to give the England selectors sleepless nights. Cook’s 147 will have shown them how difficult his shoes will be to fill. The openers have struggled in this series and have had to rely on unlikely heroes to rescue them in more than one of these tests against India.
One player who you imagine would thrive under the pressure of being moved up the order is Sam Curran. Curran has been many people’s highlight of this Test series. The 20-year-old had played in just one Test match against Pakistan before introducing himself to the cricketing world. At Edgbaston, the all-rounder hit a vital second innings of 63 and took five wickets to give an unlikely win of 31 runs.
At Lord’s, he scored 40 and took a wicket as England won by an innings and 159. He was dropped for the Trent Bridge game, a game we lost by 203 runs. Once back in the side he hit 78 at the Rose Bowl in the second innings and helped with the ball taking two as England sealed the series with a 60 run win. His two wickets on the final day all but ensured victory for England.