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Cook to bow out with one final masterpiece?

Alastair Cook receives a commemorative cap to mark his final Test appearance Getty Images

The fifth Test against India at The Oval might have been shaping up as a series-decider while Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were in harness in their run-chase at the Ageas Bowl. But now, after England's series-sealing 60-run win, the final Test of the summer is set to become the Alastair Cook valedictory special.

Perhaps it's sentiment, perhaps it's a reflection of Cook's legendary bloodymindedness. Either way, a man who has averaged less than 20 in 2018, and who announced last week that this week's match will be his 161st and final Test appearance, has been installed as the second-favourite in the Man-of-the-Match stakes for The Oval, at a tempting 8/1.

Cook slots in behind Virat Kohli, who at 13/2 has been the outstanding batsman on either side this summer, even if his efforts have been overshadowed by England's scrapping tendencies at the key moments of the series.

As for the prospect of Cook bowing out with a century in his final appearance - well, there's no guarantees, of course, but in the same week that Mick Jagger has pledged to donate £20,000 to charity for every player who reaches three figures, there's an added incentive. And at 1/12 for yes, compared to 6/1 for no, the odds are firmly in favour of someone emptying the old rocker's pockets.