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[caption id="attachment_136" align="alignright" width="300"]Alastair Cook: youngest batsman to score 7000 Test runs and most centuries for England (Photo: BCCI) Alastair Cook: youngest batsman to score 7000 Test runs and most centuries for England (Photo: BCCI)[/caption]

The third and critical Test of a four-match series between India and England is under way at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, where host captain Alastair Cook is creating history after history. During a splendid innings of 190 runs, the two most notable records he clinched are becoming the youngest batsman to reach 7000-run mark and making England record 23rd Test century.

Cook is now the youngest English player to score most centuries, breaking Wally Hammond's record of 22 centuries. In his 20-year-career, Hammond played 85 Tests and scored 7249 runs with an outstanding average of 58.45. Colin Cowdrey and Geoffrey Boycott also scored 22 centuries each.

Kevin Pietersen is another England player to have scored 22 centuries and he is the only one who can chase Cook in this respect.

England's players who scored most centuries

NameCountryMatchesinningsRunsBest scoreAvg100s50s
Alastair Cookانگلستان86*151710229450.362329
Wally Hammondانگلستان851407249336*58.452224
Kevin Pietersenانگلستان91*155733522749.892228
Colin Cowdreyانگلستان114188762418244.062238
Geoffrey Boycottانگلستان1081938114246*47.722242

India’s Sachin Tendulkar has already under his belt the record of most centuries world over. In his 23-year career, he has scored 51 centuries.

Top five batsmen who score most hundreds

BatsmenCountryMatchesRunsBest inningsAvg100s50s
Sachin Tendulkarبھارت19315638248*54.675166
Jacques Kallisجنوبی افریقہ1581298022456.924456
Ricky Pontingآسٹریلیا1681337825751.854162
Rahul Dravidبھارت1641328827052.313663
Sunil Gavaskarبھارت12510122236*51.123445

But the left-hander snatched one record from Tendulkar, and that is reaching 7000 runs earlier than him. Cook reached the milestone at the age of 27 years and 347 days while the Little Master did so when he was 28 years and 193 days’ old. Tendulkar made the record in 2001 against South Africa in Bloemfontein Test that was the 85th match of his career.

Cook has also become the first ever player in the game’s history to have scored centuries in all five of his Tests as captain.

In March 2010, Cook captained England for the first time against Bangladesh in Chittagong Test and led his side to victory by striking a 173-run knock. In the same month in Dhaka he scored his second century as a captain by scoring an undefeated 109.

Then Andrew Strauss were given the reins of captaincy who retired from the game in the current year after a disappointing defeat at the hands of South Africa, and the ECB again chose Cook as the team’s captain.

As a captain, Cook’s first task was to face India. Though his 176-run knock could not lead England to victory in Ahmedabad Test, Cook put a riveting performance, showing he was in good nick.

Cook also played his part in Mumbai Test by scoring 122 runs to lead his side to victory. In the ongoing Test in Kolkata, he unfortunately got run-out when he was 10 runs away from his double century. He scored 190 runs off 377 balls with two sixes and 32 fours, enabling England to seal victory over India.

Alastair Cook's batting performance as Test captain

DatevsVenue1st innings2nd inningsTotal runs in match
March 12, 2010بنگلہ دیشChittagong17339212
March 20, 2010بنگلہ دیشDhaka21109*130
November 15, 2012بھارتAhmedabad41176217
November 23, 2012بھارتMumbai12218*140
December 5, 2012بھارتKolkata190-190

Cook’s brilliant performance shows he is in the prime of his career as a batsman and even the pressure of leading his team doesn’t seem to stop his bat from punishing the ball—and the opponents.

Apart from his records, Cook’s brilliant show in Kolkata has provided England a chance that has been a dream for many teams, that is beating India in India.

India have been undefeated in their home ground for the last eight years, and England did so some thirty years back when in the leadership of David Gower, England beat India 2-1 in a five-match Test series.

Now, if with the help of an in-form Cook England win the current Test, then all they will need is to avoid defeat in the fourth Test in Nagpur, as even a draw will be sufficient for their victory in the series.
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