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Cook aims to conjure perfect finale

Cook aims to conjure perfect finale


The fifth and final Test match between England and India will see one man undeniably take centre stage, Alastair Cook, who bows out of international cricket at the end of the game.

The former England skipper will call time after playing in his 161st Test match and he is just one run short of completing 1,000 Test runs at The Oval, having already played in 12 Test matches at the venue, making two hundreds and six half-centuries.

Alastair Cook to be man of the match – 31/4

Opener Cook has been struggling for runs for some time, but the extra motivation of knowing that this is his final international stage will surely bring out the best in him.

He also has past decent form against India at The Oval to draw upon, having made 61, 43, 34 and 79 in his four previous Test innings against the current tourists in south London.

A fitting finale would see Cook lifting his bat aloft to take the acclaim of the crowd and he is sure to be a popular choice in the man of the match market.

Joe Root to be man of the match – 39/4

Current England captain Joe Root will hope to end the series on a high with the bat, as despite leading his side to an unassailable 3-1 lead with just one match to play, he has yet to hit top form personally.

The right-hander, set to bat in his preferred number four role – like Cook – can look back at a previous Oval clash with India for inspiration.

Four summers ago, Root made a magnificent 149 not out as the hosts thrashed India by a huge margin of an innings and 244 runs, with the visitors bowled out for 148 and 94.

England to win fifth Test – 10/13

Having seen their series hopes swept away at the Rose Bowl, India will be motivated to go out on a high note and skipper Virat Kohli will no doubt have his players fired up come Friday morning.

However, the Three Lions will want to send Cook off in style and also go one better than four years ago when they won the series against India by a 3-1 margin.

That additional impetus should see the home side come out on top, with the weather set fair for a majority of the game, meaning a positive result is on the cards.

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Adrian Mills Adrian has enjoyed a journalistic career spanning over three decades, with cricket his specialised topic. He also has a wealth of knowledge on football, golf and tennis and has the stats to back up his betting advice.