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England v India: Alastair Cook hits half-century in final Test

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Alastair Cook made 71 in his final match for England but India’s bowlers seized the initiative on day one of the fifth Test at The Oval.

Opener Cook, who will retire after his 161st Test, was given a guard of honour by the India team on his way to the crease.

He was dropped on 37 by Ajinkya Rahane but, for the most part, batted as if in his prime until he played on off Jasprit Bumrah and departed to cheers from an adoring crowd.

Cook’s dismissal sparked an all-too-familiar collapse, with England losing three wickets for one run and three more for 10 runs either side of Moeen Ali reaching a painstaking half-century.

Ishant Sharma claimed 3-28 as England closed an attritional, old-fashioned day on 198-7.

That is an excellent outcome for India, who put in a superb bowling performance on a slow pitch that looks to be the best batting surface of the series.

England already have an unassailable 3-1 lead, while India are looking to win two Tests on a tour here for the first time since 1986.

Catch-up: Clips and analysis as it happened on day one at The Oval
Listen: Test Match Special podcast with Vaughan and Agnew
Cook digs in one more time
Cook, who holds the record for the most Test caps, runs, hundreds and catches for England, has chosen to end his career in the midst of his leanest spell – he averaged only 18 with the bat in 2018 before this knock.

He has described retiring as a “weight off his shoulders” and certainly looked more at home at the crease than at any point in the series, defending with the solidity, moving with the fluency and judging as soundly as he did at his peak.

The 33-year-old’s day began with the presentation of a commemorative cap from England and Wales Cricket Board director of cricket Andrew Strauss and chairman Colin Graves, then his walk to the crease was accompanied by the first of three standing ovations and the show of respect from the tourists.

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