Former England cricketer Alastair Cook “burst into tears” following his unforgettable double century at the MCG in December 2017, his penultimate appearance in an Ashes match.
Leading into the Boxing Day Test, Cook had not managed a century against Australia for 35 consecutive innings. It had been almost seven years since Cook had reached triple figures in an Ashes Test, and speculation began mounting about whether he’d retain his spot in England’s side following the series.
The former England skipper had suffered a horrific 2017/18 Ashes to date, registering scores of two, seven, 37, 16, seven and 14. Australia had already retained the coveted Ashes during the previous match at the WACA – Cook’s 150th Test – and two dead rubbers remained.
After the hosts mustered 327 in the first innings, Cook entered the majestic MCG alongside Mark Stoneman. He would spend 634 minutes at the crease, eventually exiting the iconic venue undefeated on 244 not out.
Cook’s innings included 27 boundaries off 409 deliveries, and remains the highest ever individual total by a visiting batsman at the MCG – the previous best was Sir Vivian Richards’ 208 against Australia in 1984.
The match ended in a stalemate, but the epic innings ensured Cook earned the right to decide when to retire from the game.
Stuart Broad was at the other end of the pitch when Cook passed 200, and the paceman recalled the emotional impact that knock had on his teammate.
“I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this now he’s retired, but he just burst into tears after walking off the pitch,” Broad said on England Cricket’s Instagram Live.
“Those little moments when you see teammates achieve brilliant things (are special) because we see all the stuff that goes with cricket, all the missing of the families that can add a little bit of extra pressure.”
Broad has played 138 Test matches for England and recently admitted he was targeting another Ashes series in the 2021/22 summer.
“I’ve always, throughout my whole career, found so much more satisfaction with red-ball victories,” Broad said.
“I don’t know whether that’s because of the time it takes, you have to work so hard for them … I’ve always found a great satisfaction in sitting in the changing room after winning a Test match.”
Cook retired from cricket in 2018 as England’s highest ever run-scorer in Tests, acquiring 12,472 runs in 161 matches. The 35-year-old has also scored the most Test runs of any left-handed batsman in history.