Cricket: Perfect end for Alastair Cook with century – as Joe Root gets in on the hundred act, too

England's Alastair Cook leads the players off at the end of day four
England's Alastair Cook leads the players off at the end of day four
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His international career began in 2006 with a hundred on his debut – so it was a fitting, and emotional, end to Alastair Cook’s time in an England shirt when he signed off with a century, too.

The Essex batsman registered his 33rd Test ton on the fourth day of the final Test against India, after which he will hang up his England cap for good.

Cook's hundred, replete with nine standing ovations from the 19,300 enticed to witness his historic last hurrah at The Oval, preceded a late bid for a share of the glory from his fellow England record-breaker James Anderson.

After Cook (147) and Sheffield’s Joe Root (125) helped England pile up 423 for eight declared on day four of the fifth Specsavers Test, Anderson then equalled Glenn McGrath's all-time world record of 563 wickets for any pace bowler. The upshot was a near hopeless position for India, as they were reduced to two for three before recovering to 58 for three at the close of play.

"Ever since it [retirement] was announced, you hope to have a good week and to top it off with a hundred here, well I guess sometimes dreams do come true,” Cook said.

"The Barmy Army were signing about me there towards the end and I suppose sometimes those little selfish moments are why we play sport.

"It was an emotional moment, there was definitely a lump in my throat with that standing ovation. It makes it special because I've got about 30 friends here today, and family too.

"You couldn't have scripted it actually, today is just one of those days that you will forever look back on and just think wow."

Asked if his 147 had perhaps made him reconsider his decision to retire, Cook replied: "It's just been a great week and the timing is right, which makes this even more special.

"There is definitely something missing from my game but today has shown that when it's your day you can still play and get runs, although I don't know how many times I've played and missed in that innings.

"There just can't be a better way to go and I will remember today forever. But we must also remember that Rooty got a hundred today as well, as much as this seems to be my benefit game!"