With a 3 – 1 lead in his pocket, 33 years on his clock and his third child about to arrive, England’s Alastair Cook took the 3s as an omen that it was time to call time on his international cricket career.

He will still play for his county side, Essex, but after 160 Test matches, he has decided that he can no longer endure the rigours of playing at Test level.

Cook said that he was at peace with the decision, telling the media that he could go out, “With a big smile on my face, knowing I have given everything.”

“After much thought and deliberation over the last few months I have decided to announce my retirement from international cricket at the end of this Test series against India,” Cook said.

England is having its way with India in England and has an unassailable lead, so Cook will go out a winner.

He holds the record with over 12,000 Test runs for his career, along with the distinction of scoring more runs across all international formats that any other player in English cricket history.

He has not been his usual self at the top of the Poms’ order, averaging just 15.57 in seven innings against India, but he stands sixth in the world in terms of Test run-scorers.

So prodigious with the willow is Cook that he surpassed the total of his mentor Graham Gooch three years ago.

“Although it is a sad day, I can do so with a big smile on my face, knowing I have given everything and there is nothing left in the tank,” Cook said. “I have achieved more than I could have ever imagined and feel very privileged to have played for such a long time alongside some of the greats of the English game.”

Cook’s retirement announcement caught many by surprise, as he was still a danger man with the bat and could have played on for as many as five years and perhaps chased down one or more of the few in front of him.