Cook hails his bowlers after series win
Cricket:England captain Alastair Cook hailed his bowlers after they spearheaded a record ninth consecutive one-day international victory, beating Australia by eight wickets at Chester-le-Street to secure a series victory.
Man-of-the-match Steven Finn led the way with four for 37 as England restricted Australia to 200 for nine in conducive conditions for their four-pronged seam attack.
A well-paced chase ensured that score was never enough as England made it 3-0 in the five-match series with a game to play at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
The success also meant England remain unbeaten in 2012, following series wins against Pakistan and West Indies, to leave Cook to reflect on the best run by an England 50-over team.
“It is really pleasing, since the start of the new year not losing and winning nine in a row is an amazing effort,” he said.
“We had the best of the conditions today but that means nothing, we still had to make the most of it and the bowlers did that.
“They’ve made my job easier. Steven Finn got the wickets today but all the bowlers bowled well.”
After another comfortable win against their Ashes rivals Cook played down any significance the series win might have on next year’s Test series.
“I said at the beginning of the series that a year on this will have little relevance,” he said. “We’ve taken the series as it is and we’ll move on.”
Finn was twice on a hat-trick in another match-winning display from the Middlesex quick.
It was his third four-wicket haul in ODIs this year and, after combining with Jimmy Anderson in the favourable early conditions to restrict Australia to 15 for two after 10 overs, he gave England an advantage they did not relinquish.
“They were great conditions for fast bowlers. I thought we bowled well as a unit to restrict them to a score that was manageable,” said Finn.
“We knew we had to bowl a fuller length and challenge the stumps and we did that well.
“Jimmy’s first five overs went for six runs. For them to be 15 after 10 overs put them on the back foot.”
Australia skipper Michael Clarke refused to offer any excuses for his side’s defeat, that leave them staring down a winless tour.
The series defeat was the first of Clarke’s captaincy, since taking over 12 months ago, while he was left with injury worries to Brett Lee and Shane Watson.
“It was a tough day. We probably didn’t get enough runs and then losing a couple of bowlers doesn’t help. But take nothing away from England they were outstanding,” he said.
“You could say England had better of bowling conditions today, but saying that we had better in Lord’s. They found a way to win. No doubt we’ve got plenty of work to do. I’d love a win before I go home.”