Cook unbeaten as England make steady start to India finale


LONDON, Sept 7, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Alastair Cook held firm in his last Test
to guide England to 68 for one at lunch on the first day of their series
finale against India at The Oval on Friday.

Cook, England’s all-time record Test run-scorer, was 37 not out — his
best score of the series — in his final appearance before international

The 33-year-old left-handed opener has struggled for Test runs lately, and
came into this match averaging under 19 for the calendar year.

Cook, extending his England appearance record to 161 Tests, was thrust
straight into the action when Joe Root, his successor as England captain,
opted to bat first after winning the toss.

England had already won this five-match series after a 60-run victory at
Southampton, completed on Sunday, gave them an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Cook, who walked out to a guard of honour from the India team, was soon
into his stride with two trademark boundaries off successive balls from fast
bowler Jasprit Bumrah — a square-cut followed by a pull.

Keaton Jennings, under pressure for his England place, had made just six
when he was hit on the helmet after taking his eye off a short all from
Ishant Sharma.

He nevertheless helped fellow left-hander Cook compile England’s best
opening stand of the series.

But when Jennings had made 23, with England 60 for one, Jennings
carelessly turned left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, recalled in place of the
unfit Ravichandran Ashwin, straight to KL Rahul at leg-slip.

Moeen Ali, continuing at number three after batting there in the second
innings at Southampton so Root could come in his favoured position of number
four, was two not out at lunch.