A place in history at one of the world's great grounds

Anyone who saw the agony of Alastair Cook last summer would be astonished and delighted to learn that he has joined a small and distinguished group of English batsmen who will chatter happily about great days at the Adelaide Oval.

England have not won here since 1994-95, but it has been the scene of some great English innings. Cook's 136 not out is another of them, made even more memorable because it was scored in a lovely place.

Remember Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen, who put on 310 for the fourth wicket in 2006. Michael Vaughan was in his prime in 2002 and his 177 was a wonderfully fluent innings. There must be something in the air. Cook breathed deeply of it yesterday. He had had his best game for England in Brisbane, but his performance here has been even more assured, more versatile. His hundred was chanceless; he was unworried even when given out by Marais Erasmus, calling confidently for a review.

Vaughan's brilliant hundred in 2002 benefited from a third umpire who felt unable to uphold Justin Langer's conviction that he had caught Vaughan in the covers early in his innings, but Vaughan was good enough to take full advantage of his luck. Collingwood's 206 four years ago was a monument to his graft as well as craft. The most memorable thing was his whoop when he reached his double hundred. Pietersen, of course, was Pietersen.

Luck played no part in the apotheosis of Cook. The cramped, nervy batsman of last summer who scored so few runs that his place was doubtful belonged to another time and another place. He had been selected because he pulled off a risky hundred in the second innings of the Oval Tests against Pakistan. He was out cheaply early on this tour. There was no evidence to suggest he might score 302 for once out in the first Test.

In Brisbane it was possible to appreciate why his old master Keith Fletcher says that Cook is the finest young player he has ever coached. At Adelaide yesterday, the prophesy came true. Cook rarely hooked or pulled; he was neat off his legs and cut the ball to the boundary square, behind square and in front of square in a single over. But that is what we have come to expect. What was a revelation was the placement and timing of his cover drives. The bowlers' trade union would black the Adelaide Oval. The wicket is bland for three days; there is no unpredictable bounce and batsmen can concentrate on playing their shots rather than defending their stumps. It is a ground on which cricketers like to leave a mark.

It was often rated as the second-best cricket ground in the world. It was a ground of low stands and terracotta roofs with fine trees, an antique scoreboard and a view of the cathedral that set it apart. Cook has graced this Oval in a period of transition. The members' stand has been transformed into a substantial construction covered by five grey, shell-like roofs. They will be copied around the ground, though the view will be protected. The Oval will be fit to play football before crowds big enough to keep it in business.

When Cook reminisces about his Adelaide hundred on what was once called Test Match Special before most countries stopped bothering with Tests, he can properly boast that the innings was worthy of the surroundings.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk