Cook pays tribute to dead pal by scoring chanceless 100 against Proteas

Updated: Jul 20, 2012, 12:26 PM IST

London: England opener Alastair Cook paid a tribute to his pal David Randall, who lost his battle with cancer earlier this month, by scoring an emotional 114 not out against South Africa.

Cook’s former club-mate Randall’s funeral was on Monday, and he was the same age as Cook, 27, and his opening partner at both Maldon Cricket Club and Essex Under-14s.

After England reached 267-3 on day one at The Oval, Cook said: “It was an emotional time and when you score hundreds the emotions are right up there. We’re lucky enough to play cricket aren’t we? Unfortunately he can’t anymore.”

Cook’s chanceless knock also took him level with mentor Graham Gooch, England’s batting coach’s 20 Test tons.

“It was very satisfying. It’s been a year since my last Test hundred, so it was a very special moment. Every little landmark is nice. To go from 19 to 20, especially after a little wait, meant a lot,” Cook said.

“It was nice to draw level with Goochie. Clearly he’s a great player so to have the same number as him is very special. Every hundred is a good hundred but I don’t think I gave a chance in this one. And when you do that, you feel in control,” he said.

Meanwhile, South African bowling coach Allan Donald hit out at rumours of an injury to Dale Steyn, despite the Proteas premier fast bowler showing strapping around his right foot.

The former star warned his attack they must bag early wickets today or face an uphill struggle in this first Test.