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Alastair Cook become the youngest to 10,000 Test runs © Getty Images

Chester-le-Street: Captain Alastair Cook was already looking ahead after becoming the youngest batsman to score 10,000 Test runs during the course of his side’s series-clinching win over Sri Lanka at the Riverside on Monday. Cook, who started the day needing five more runs to bring up his 10,000, reached the landmark when he clipped Nuwan Pradeep for four through mid-wicket. That left-handed opener finished on 47 not out as England won the second Test with more than a day to spare, a victory that put them 2-0 up in the three-match series. Cook is the first England batsman to score 10,000 Test runs and at 31 years and 157 days old, the youngest from any country, beating the previous record of India great Sachin Tendulkar (31 years and 326 days). “It’s a very special moment for me, but the game is not about personal milestones, it’s about winning games and scoring runs to do that,” said Cook. ALSO READ: England vs Sri Lanka 2016: ENG announce unchanged squad for third Test against SL after series win

Cook, acknowledging the input of Essex and England mentor Graham Gooch, added: “It’s those seven o’clocknets with Goochie, it’s all that hard work that goes with it.” Asked who were the toughest bowlers he had faced in international cricket, Cook nominate a quartet of Australia quicks.  “(Ryan) Harris and (Mitchell) Johnson were hard, and facing (Glenn) McGrath and Brett Lee as a 21-year old was a good baptism for me.” Cook scored a hundred on his debut against India at Nagpur in 2006 and has now made 28 Test centuries. But his career has not been one long sequence of unbroken success.

The closest Cook, a veteran of 128 Tests, came close to being dropped was during a 2010 home series against Pakistan. But a hundred in the third Test at The Oval saved his place and set Cook up for a triumphant tour of Australia where he scored 766 runs, including three hundreds, as England won the Ashes 3-1. “The Pakistan series in 2010 for me as a batter was hard,” said Cook. “I had changed my technique. I found it tough. It was an enlightening moment when I went back to my old technique.”

Cook’s position as captain was called into question two years ago as England suffered a 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia and again during the 2014 home series defeat by Sri Lanka.”As a player and captain Sri Lanka was hard. Forget all the runs. That is my proudest moment…hanging in there in the tough times,” said Cook.  Gooch, himself a former opener whose tally of 8,900 Test runs puts him second behind Cook on England’s all-time list, paid tribute to his protege by telling BBC Radio’s Test Match Special: “It’s not just about the runs you score, it’s about how many matches you win for your team and he’s been at the forefront of that for the last decade. “He’s a guy that gets the job done.”

Cook could have several more years in which to break Tendulkar’s all-time aggregate Test record of 15,921 runs. “Who knows?,” said Cook. I never thought I would get 10,000. Now I will have to have a rethink and set something else personally.”