Cook sets England Test century record in India


Captain Alastair Cook set a record for England Test centuries with his 23rd as the tourists assumed control of the third Test against India. The opener passed the mark of 22 held by Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey, Geoffrey Boycott and Kevin Pietersen. Cook made 136 not out as England reached 216-1 in reply to India’s 316 all out at the close of day two at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Cook, 27, also became the youngest batsman to reach 7,000 Test runs.
The Essex left-hander reached the milestone at the age of 27 years and 347 days, knocking Sachin Tendulkar off top spot.
The India great, who has a record 15,638 Test runs, was 28 years and 193 days old when he passed the 7,000 mark. Cook, whose Test career began with a hundred against India in Nagpur in 2006, has now scored centuries in all five of his Tests as captain.
He brought up his third ton of the series off 179 balls with a sweep for two off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin during an opening partnership of 165 with Nick Compton. While his England team-mates and coaching staff rose in unison on the balcony to salute their skipper, Cook removed his helmet, looked skyward and punched the air with both hands. Cook is still only joint-20th in an all-time list headed by Tendulkar on 51, but should have many years ahead of him to move up the table.
“I don’t think it will be such a big deal to him,” said Boycott on Test Match Special. “At his age he’s going to get quite a lot more unless he has a serious illness or injury. “He’s in the best years of his life and will automatically play, he has a good technique and should be well on the way to 40 hundreds by the time he’s finished.” Cook also surpassed Andrew Strauss, the man he succeeded as Test captain before the India tour, to move up to ninth in the list of England’s all-time highest run-scorers with 7,048. Graham Gooch holds the record with 8,900.