Root hopes century is 'written in the stars' for Cook

Friday, September 07, 2018

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LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Joe Root hopes a century is “written in the stars” for Alastair Cook as England try to send their record run-scorer out on a high by beating India in the fifth Test at The Oval.

The match, to start today, will be Cook's last before his international retirement, although the 33-year-old left-handed opener will continue to play for Essex.

Cook announced he was calling time on his England career on Monday, following a 60-run win over India in the fourth Test at Southampton that gave England an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

He may have scored 12,254 Test runs and appeared in a world record 158 consecutive matches at this level, but former England Captain Cook is averaging a meagre 18.62 from nine Tests this year.

But Root, his successor as England skipper, believes Cook could yet finish his career as he started it — with a century.

Essex opener Cook scored 104 not out on his Test debut, against India at Nagpur in 2006, the first of his England record 32 hundreds.

“Now it's about us as a team giving him (Cook) an opportunity to go out in the best way possible,” Root told reporters at The Oval yesterday.

Cook hasn't reached three figures in Test cricket since a marathon 244 against Australia in Melbourne in December.

“It would be nice to start and finish with a century. You never know, it might be written in the stars,” Root, the Yorkshire top-order batsman, said.

India vice-captain and middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane paid tribute on behalf of Cook's final Test opponents by saying: “He has been fantastic for England cricket.”

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