England batsman Alastair Cook mimicked South Africa’s Jacques Kallis by scoring a century in his final Test innings at The Oval on Monday.
Cook, who will retire from international cricket at the end of the ongoing fifth and final Test against India, welcomed a superb 147 before the tea break on day four in London.
Kallis also managed three figures in his Test match swansong, against the same opposition, at Kingsmead in Durban in 2013.
The veteran Cook also surpassed Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara’s tally of 12,400 to become the fifth highest run-scorer in the longest format of the international game. The elite quintet is completed by Kallis, Australian Ricky Ponting and Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.
The left-handed Cook also passed Australian Steve Waugh’s tally of Test tons. Cook now has 33 to Waugh’s 32.
Intriguingly, only two of the 33 were struck against South Africa. He managed seven against the Indians, six versus the West Indies and five against the Australians.
Cook was eventually caught by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant off the bowling of debutant Hanuma Vihari, who removed second centurion Joe Root with the very next delivery, too.
All-rounder Ben Stokes survived the hat-trick delivery, but watched from the other end as wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow and specialist batsman Jos Buttler perished in quick succession.
England welcomed the tea interval on a sizeable 364 for six, with a hefty 404 lead, built on the back of Cook and Root’s formidable alliance of 259. Seamer Mohammed Shami, indeed, capitalised on the third new ball. Shami’s role was particularly important in the absence of fellow right-armer Ishant Sharma, who is nursing an injury.
The home side sport an unassailable 3-1 series lead, after victories at Lord’s, Edgbaston and Southampton, and defeat at Trent Bridge.
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