Alastair Cook: 'It was a strange day but I'd have snapped your hand off to retain the Ashes in 14 days'


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The Independent Online

Alastair Cook became the first England captain for 85 years to help his team retain the Ashes this early and called on cricket’s rulers to end the confusion surrounding the umpires’ use of technology.

Not since the 1928-29 series has the outcome of this contest been decided in England's favour after only three Tests. Two-nil up after the opening two matches, the Manchester rain  ensured the urn would remain in England hands after only 20.3 overs were possible on the final day.

"The dressing room is a pretty happy place," said Cook. "It was a strange day but if you'd said we'd retain the Ashes after 14 days' cricket, I'd have snapped your hand off.

"Our first objective was to retain the Ashes. Now we want to go and win them but this Test has shown how competitive Australia are."

On many days this series, players have been mystified by the umpires' interpretation of the Decision Review System, and yesterday was no different. Kevin Pietersen was given out caught behind and even though there was no mark on his bat shown by Hot Spot, the heat-seeking device that should detect faint edges, the on-field decision was upheld after the batsman's review.

Although the sound and other evidence suggested Pietersen had nicked the ball, he was furious with umpire Tony Hill's call. Cook conceded: "Both sides, especially in this game, have been quite confused with some of the decisions.

"In practice, DRS has worked really well, maybe apart from in this series. I don't know whether the cricketing Gods are throwing up some slightly  inconclusive evidence because it's the Ashes.

"It is there to make more correct  decisions and that's what it's got to be there for. We're just a little bit confused at the moment why certain decisions have been overturned and certain  decisions haven't and that's not just with an England cap on.

"Hopefully the ICC [International Cricket Council] can iron things out and we can get back to what it's  designed for. We want more decisions to be correct and for decisions to have less of an impact on games."

Although England could still prevail 4-0, Michael Clarke believes this match proved there is little difference between the teams. The Australia captain, man of the match for his 187 in the first innings, said: "All the players are disappointed we didn't regain the Ashes but after we were well beaten at Lord's, we showed we're here for the fight and we'll try to take that into the next Test."