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Botham: Cook could catch Sachin

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 14-11-2016 skysports.com
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England skipper Alastair Cook could get close to matching Sachin Tendulkar's record of 51 Test hundreds, says Sir Ian Botham. 

Cook chalked up the 30th Test hundred of his career on the fifth and final day of the drawn first Test against India to move past Sir Donald Bradman in the all-time list, finishing on 130 off 243 balls.

In so doing, he registered his fifth century in India - a record as he eclipsed the four apiece scored by South Africa's Hashim Amla and West Indian duo Clive Lloyd and Everton Weekes.

The 31-year-old still has quite some distance to go, though, to match the achievements of Tendulkar who rattled up 51 Test centuries over a 200-Test career.

Nevertheless, Botham says Cook - England's most-capped Test captain and leading Test run-scorer of all time with 10,839 in 136 Tests - is not out of the running.

"He just breaks records," said Botham, speaking to Sky Sports in Rajkot.

"I was here in India when he flew halfway around the world to play in Mohali and got a hundred after 30-odd hours travelling, having arrived the night before.

"He's now got 30 hundreds and is the one player currently playing in world cricket who I believe could get close to Sachin Tendulkar.

"He's not yet 32 and batsmen can go on for a bit longer than the hard-working bowlers and all-rounders. He could bat until he's 36 or 37."

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Cook, in leading England for a 55th time in the Test in Rajkot, broke Michael Atherton's record of 54 Tests as skipper.

In the wake of his side's 1-1 series draw in Bangladesh, several bookmakers slashed the price of England suffering a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of world No 1 side India, but Botham said they could not have got it more wrong.

"England were written off before they even started this game by just about everybody," said the former all-rounder.

"They've come here and they've dominated the game, putting runs on the board in the first innings which is crucial in this part of the world, and the bowlers stuck to their task.

"If you look at the scores up until the fourth innings you'd have thought we were playing on a road but I thought it was an extremely good cricket wicket.

"I thought England out-played India for 90 per cent of this match and that's big news over here. They will take a lot from that.

"If our spinners bowl as well in the next Test as they have done here, then they can out-bowl India again - because I thought our spinners were better!"

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