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Alastair Cook’s long goodbye begins and underlines his ongoing value | Barney Ronay

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Former captain shares season-best opening stand of 60 and goes on to make 71 in the first innings of his 161st and final Test

It was the sound of Alastair Cook leaving the crease at the Kia Oval that you really noticed. There were three parts to it. First was the weird, involuntary groan as Jasprit Bumrah rushed a ball through Cook’s defences to splay the stumps. It was 4.22pm. Cook had nudged and cuffed and occasionally flashed his way to an autumnal half century on one of those sunny, steady opener’s days where the game is still crisp and starchily in order, there to be tickled into shape, and where, briefly, anything seems possible.

Bumrah has been the best of India’s fast bowlers. He is also a fast bowler who does not resemble a fast bowler at any stage in his run up and action, right up until the moment he suddenly becomes one to startling effect. Bumrah starts by walking 10 paces. Then he skips, grudgingly, for six more. Finally he leaps, star-jumps, points a finger to the sky and whirls that straight arm down like a man lashing a bullwhip.

Related: Alastair Cook keeps England afloat before India claim late wickets

Related: Where does Alastair Cook rank among England captains? | Datablog

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