Alastair Cook given guard of honour to mark final Test
Alastair Cook was given a guard of honour by the India team as he made his way to the crease in his final Test.
Cook, who has announced his decision to retire after a Test career that began in 2006, was also given a sustained standing ovation from a full-house Oval crowd. Even the umpires joined in.
Cook, who leaves the game as England’s most-capped Test player as well as their highest run-scorer and most prolific catcher (excluding keepers), also exchanged handshakes with India captain, Virat Kohli, who joked at the toss that it felt as if his side had seen rather too much of Cook’s batting over the year.
Colin Graves, the ECB chairman, also presented Cook with a commemorative cap bearing the number 161 – the final tally of Cook’s Test caps – in a squad huddle a few minutes before the toss.
There was no sign the emotion of the occasion had adversely affected Cook in the early minutes of the match. Having got under way with a well-timed push for three through the covers, he produced a vintage flick off the legs for four through mid-wicket – head not falling over; timing impeccable – to provide a reminder of his finest form.