Alastair Cook has Graham Gooch’s achievements in his sights - perhaps on two counts - yet he will have mixed feelings if and when his own statistics start to dwarf his mentor’s.
Cook’s tour de force 182 not out was the cornerstone of England’s 456 for three by stumps on day two of the third npower Test at Edgbaston.
He has therefore moved just one Test century behind former England captain and current batting coach Gooch, on 19.
With so much time left in this match, he could also conceivably top Gooch’s career-best 333 for his country - also against India, at Lord’s 21 years ago.
Stoic opener Cook, however, has not racked up seven hundreds in his last 13 Tests by getting ahead of himself, and is characteristically reticent about ever putting Gooch in the shade.
“It will be a shame when, or if, I do equal him - because he is a great player,” he said of a batsman who, like him, made his name at Essex.
As for the prospects of ploughing on tomorrow to a second double-century, or even a maiden triple, Cook advises caution.
“Let’s not get carried away. We have to keep working as hard as we have.”
England also continue to refuse to be distracted by the now imminent probability that, by winning a match in which they already lead by 232 on first innings, they will clinch this series 3-0 and go to the top of the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings.
Cook instead would rather focus on the nuts and bolts of the task ahead. “We have a work ethic in our batters over the last couple of years since Goochie came on board,” he said.
Cook borrows from Gooch when he refers, often, to ‘daddy’ hundreds - more than 150 qualifies, it seems - and he was also mixing some other metaphors tonight too.
“The results have gone through the roof, but we have to keep our feet on the ground.”