Henry Blofeld, the Test Match Special commentator, signed off after nearly 50 years behind the microphone with the words "how lovely" and was given a standing ovation from the Lord's crowd before embarking on a lap of honour when the final Test concluded.

Blofeld, 77, announced earlier this year that this would be his final season in the commentary box as, "I can't see as well as I used to... it's better to go when people are prepared to clap you." His final stint on air came as England closed in on their target to take the series against West Indies and shortly before the winning runs he signed off for the final time.

"I've got no last word because handing over to next commentator has always been an adventure for me," he said. "That ladies and gentleman is the end of it. It's been wonderful talking to you. I will miss you something dreadful, I must try not to fall over when I hand over to the next commentary who I think is going to be Ed Smith. How lovely."

The Lord's crowd, many of who were listening on earpieces, rose and gave an extended ovation as Blofeld moved out of his seat in a packed TMS commentary box.

Speaking a short while later to Sky Sports he said: "I'm 78 next week - or is it the week after - and I don't think I see as well as I did. You can only get worse so perhaps it's better to go when people are prepared to clap you. It's been a huge amount of fun. Some people call it work, it's been terrific. I really, really have loved my life."

During his broadcasting career, Blofeld worked in television as well as radio although it was his long association with Test Match Special that cemented his status. His commentary - including his most well-known phrase, "my dear old thing" - was often interspersed with references to London buses or the various types of birds spotted around the grounds.

He was invited into the England dressing after they had secured the series victory and presented with a signed shirt by Joe Root

"What a credit he is to the game, I'm quite emotional speaking about it actually," Root said. "It's going to be strange listening to the radio and not hearing him commentating on not just the cricket but the rest that comes with it. He'll be sorely missed by the players and I'm sure the public as well."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo