This was Cook at his best, says Hussain as opener hits farewell ton

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Former England captain Nasser Hussain hailed “vintage” Alastair Cook as the opener marked his final international innings with a century.

The 33-year-old hit his 33rd Test ton for England during the series finale against India, his 161st appearance in the five-day format, and went on to make 147.

He brought up three figures in bizarre fashion as he went for a quick single to reach 97, only for Jasprit Bumrah to overthrow for four extra runs to seal the opener’s fairytale farewell.

And Hussain, who was a team-mate of Cook at the end of his playing career at Essex, heaped praise on England’s all-time leading run-scorer for a composed performance under pressure.

He told Sky Sports Cricket: “You’d have to be a fool to write off Cook. If he has one more chance in him you know he will give it the absolute utmost.

“The week he has had, the pressure he has been under, everything he has had to do, the emotional strain he has been under – to be able to dig deep and put in such a performance was Cook at his best. Vintage Cook.

“It was a special hundred and not an ugly hundred.”

Former India spinner Harbahajan Singh, who played in Cook’s debut Test 12 years ago in Nagpur, hailed the opener’s professionalism on and off the field.

He told Sky Sports Cricket: “I’m really delighted he got his 100 today. He was brilliant.

“This is probably his best moment. You score your first century against India, I was part of that game, and he’s finishing against India. He’s playing his last inning and is finishing with a 100.

“People might think ‘why doesn’t he continue to play for a few more years? He’ll probably get a few more runs’, but I think he has had a fantastic career.

“An outstanding player and on top of that, he’s a top, top human being.”

Former opener Michael Atherton believes it will be a hard task for the England selectors to replace Cook, not just for his runs but also his Test-match temperament.

“England will miss his runs, albeit that they have dried up in the main, but they will also miss him setting the right example in preparation and training and the way he carries himself,” Atherton told Sky Sports Cricket.

“(Former England coach) Duncan Fletcher said every team had a critical mass of players who pushed the team in the right direction and Cook is clearly one of those.”

Past England team-mates were quick to congratulate the opener on his parting feat.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted: “That was a very very special moment… All of us who are privileged to be here today will remember that forever… #Cook #100… If any person deserves that send off it’s Alastair… Fairytales do happen…”

Ex-Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor, who played seven Tests for England, said on Twitter: “YES Chef!!! What an incredible fairytale last innings for one of worlds greatest batsman! He’s been an inspiration and an example to so many! Nobody deserves it more #ThankYouChef.”

Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan said: “Yes chef #LEGEND so pleased for him.”

Former opponents were also keen to offer their praise, with Essex colleague and former Ashes foe Peter Siddle adding: “The Chef is cooking! Congratulations brother, very well deserved. #Eagles”

England’s women cricketer Danni Wyatt retweeted her own post from the first day of the fifth Test against India, which read: “Cook 100 written all over it!! #ENGvsIND.”

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