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For Alastair Cook, it was worth the wait

Last updated on: August 17, 2011 14:57 IST

Cook was only the 16th Englishman to register a hundred on debut

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Bikash Mohapatra

Alastair Cook scored a hundred on debut against India in 2006. Five years later life has come a full circle for the England opener, who scored a match-winning 294. Bikash Mohapatra traces his career and says it was worth the wait.

Alastair Cook's Test career has completed a circle.

Well, literally!

The 26-year-old's 294 against India in the third Test at Edgbaston might have been his 19th hundred in just 71 Tests. But against the country he made his debut, it was only his second -- one that took a long time coming.

It was in March 2006 that Cook got his first Test cap for England. Drafted in as a replacement for Marcus Trescothick, the then 21-year-old was handed a debut in the first Test at Nagpur.

The young batsman impressed immediately, scoring 60 in the first innings. That was followed by an unbeaten 104 in the second innings, the 3,000th century in Tests that made him only the 16th Englishman to register a hundred on debut.

 


Image: Alastair Cook

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'The last few Tests have been frustrating'

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Five years passed since and Cook accumulated a plethora of centuries. However, not one came against India, despite the fact that he played as many as eight Tests against them.

The batsman had a torrid start to the ongoing series, scoring just 20 runs in the first two Tests. There were question marks raised about his ability to play anything besides pace.

Cook himself was left flustered.

"The last few Tests have been frustrating," he admitted.

"I did little bit of work to get myself to a better position," he added.

The turnaround though was just around the corner.

With England comfortably-placed -- following wins in the first two Tests -- going into the third Test at Edgbaston, Cook got an opportunity to plan his innings.


Image: Alastair Cook

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Cook's 294 -- highest score by an Englishman v India at Edgbaston

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"It was important to get through that initial period," he explained.

"Once that was accounted for, Cook went from strength to strength and soon reached his second Test double hundred -- following his unbeaten 235 against Australia in Brisbane last November.

Cook's double-century was also the 50th by an England batsman in Tests and was the 13th time by an Englishman had topped 250.

His personal best was also the highest individual score against India at Edgbaston -- beating David Lloyd's 214.

Besides, it was the sixth highest Test score by an England batsman -- only behind Len Hutton, Wally Hammond, Graham Gooch, Andy Sandham and John Edrich.


Image: Alastair Cook

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'Any time you score runs for England it means a lot'

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Despite missing out on a triple century, Cook was content.

"It always nice to score runs," he said, adding, "There was a little disappointment (of having failed to get the triple).

"But you need to look at it in a right way. It was about the 294 runs scored rather than the six missed.

"Any time you score runs for England it means a lot."

Cook's innings at Edgbaston, apart from helping him shrug off his poor form, also helped get that elusive second hundred against India.


Image: Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen during a practice session

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'It's nice to put that record straight'

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Besides, it helped him displace Sachin Tendulkar from the No. 3 spot in the ICC Test rankings -- only behind South Africa's Jacques Kallis and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara.

"It's been a while since I scored a hundred against them," admitted Cook.

"It's nice to put that record straight," he added.

His second century against India might have come in more than five years after his first.

But for Alastair Cook it was worth the wait.


Image: Alastair Cook

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