Alastair Cook strode off the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday with an unbeaten 244 early on day four of the fourth Ashes Test, the highest ever score by an opener to have carried his bat through an innings.
England resumed their first innings on 491 for nine but Cook was unable to add to his overnight total, with Pat Cummins dismissing tail-ender James Anderson for a duck with the first ball of the morning.
Former captain Cook became the first England batsman in 20 years to carry his bat, with Mike Atherton (94 not out) the last to do so against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1997.
Cook’s effort was the 52nd time a player has achieved the feat in over 130 years of Test cricket. Only 46 players have ever carried their bat in the longest form of the game.
The last to do so was West Indies’ Kraigg Brathwaite, who was 142 not out against Pakistan in Sharjah last year.
Cook’s 244 not out is the highest score by a touring batsman at the MCG. The 208 scored by West Indies’ Viv Richards in 1984 was the previous record.