Alastair Cook has become the youngest cricketer to score 10,000 Test runs. The England captain, 31 years five months and five days old, reached the landmark as his side cruised to victory on the fourth day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Durham.
Clipping Nuwan Pradeep off his legs for four, Cook surpassed India's Sachin Tendulkar's record of 31 years, ten months and 20 days, which has stood since 2005. "It's a very special moment for me," said Cook afterwards. "It's certainly driven me personally. To score 10,000 runs was one of those goals."
Cook, who scored an unbeaten 47 as England chased down the meagre target set by Sri Lanka to win the Test - and with it the series - joins a select band of batsmen who have reached five figures in Test match runs. They are Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (both West Indies), Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) Ricky Ponting, Allan Border and Steve Waugh (all Australia), Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid (all India) and Jacques Kallis (South Africa).
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It was Cook's 128th Test match for his country since making his debut against India in 2006, a match in which he scored the first of his 28 Test centuries. Yet despite all the runs Cook's England career hasn't been without problems, particularly in 2014 when his captaincy came under intense scrutiny and there were calls for him to step down. He resisted, and yesterday said his achievement made him "forget about all the hard times you have as a cricketer."
The milestone will be a weight off his shoulders and he can now look forward to pushing on towards the world record of 15,921 runs, held by Tendulkar. “Who knows [how many runs I can score]," he replied to the question. "I will have to have a rethink and set something else personally. You need something tucked away to drive you to get up go running in the morning or bat in the nets... I am still hungry to achieve stuff.”
Cook should be able to add a few more to his total in next week's third Test against Sri Lanka and the visit of Pakistan later in the summer for a four-Test series should also provide rich pickings for England's most prolific batsman.
England have named an unchanged squad for the final Test of the Sri Lanka series, which they now lead 2-0, although coach Trevor Bayliss rated his side's performance in Durham only "an eight out of ten performance".
Having bowled the tourists out for 101 in the first innings, Sri Lanka compiled 475 in their second, thanks to a century from Dinesh Chandimal. England had little trouble knocking off the 80 runs required with Alex Hales (11) the only wicket to fall as Cook steered his country to victory.
"We've got to work a little harder and not get away from our game plan," said Bayliss. "I'd like to see our batters turn some of their starts into bigger scores as well. We're certainly still a work in progress."
Although when asked about his captain's feat, Bayliss was more effusive: "What else can you say but absolutely fantastic effort!"
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