Alastair Cook eager for England to continue one-day run

 

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The Independent Online

Alastair Cook's England are on a near record winning run in one-day international cricket.

But after last night's eight-wicket success against Australia at Old Trafford made it 10 victories on the trot, completed a 4-0 NatWest Series rout of the old enemy and took England up to third in the world rankings, the captain made it clear this must be merely the beginning of their upward curve.

Cook (58) and Ravi Bopara (52no) shared a stand of 92 to all but see England home together under lights, chasing a Duckworth-Lewis target of 138 in a rain-shortened match.

The margin of victory was seven wickets, with 11 balls to spare, after world number ones Australia had been restricted to 145 for seven in 32 overs.

Cook was naturally full of praise for his team, but did not miss the opportunity to point out bigger ambitions lie ahead.

"We hope we're heading in the right direction. Clearly we are, with the group of players we've got," he said.

"If we want to win tournaments, we have to be playing as well as we are now in the week when we enter those tournaments.

"That will be the aim. We're desperate to keep building on this, expanding our skills so that we get better as a side."

Cook's team need to keep winning if they are to add 50-over supremacy to the International Cricket Council top rankings they have established in the Test and Twenty20 formats.

Then next year, they have the chance to beat the world on home ground - in the Champions Trophy tournament, which will precede a rematch with Australia in the Ashes.

Cook did allow himself a moment of satisfaction at a job well-done this summer, as England added victory over Michael Clarke's tourists to a similarly emphatic one against West Indies.

"It feels good, great to win the series," said Cook.

"It's been a brilliant effort from the lads.

"We've never let up, throughout the four games we've played.

"We've always been at Australia, and always tried to put them under some pressure."

Ian Bell finished as England's top runscorer, having replaced Kevin Pietersen as Cook's opening partner following the South Africa-born batsman's shock limited-overs retirement last month.

Bell was modest about his achievements, though, insisting England's bowlers were a key factor too.

"Our bowling has been absolutely unbelievable these last two series, so we haven't actually had to chase too many big scores.

"It's taken a bit to get through those two new balls, and then really cash in.

"I've really enjoyed it, and I think we've done pretty well as an opening partnership.

"We complement each other, and I've enjoyed that partnership as much as scoring runs myself."

Cook's opposite number Clarke also believes the bowlers were perhaps England's most telling resource.

"There are a lot of good teams at the moment," he said.

"But I think England's bowling attack is as good as there is in the world."

PA

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