Alastair Cook wants no let up from his side as they eye a 4-0 series win over arch-rivals Australia.
Chester-Le-Street: England one-day captain Alastair Cook wants no let up from his side as they eye a 4-0 series win over arch-rivals Australia at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Cook's men took a series-clinching 3-0 lead with a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Australia, still the world's top-ranked side in 50-over cricket, at the Riverside here on Saturday.
Victory also gave England their ninth successive one-day international win and Cook is determined his side keep that run going in Tuesday's day/night clash in Manchester. "Four-nil looks a lot better than 3-1, he said.
"They (Australia) will be desperate not to let that happen, but we have got to be just as hungry as we have been in these games. It would be great to make it 10 wins in a row." However, with a packed Test and limited overs programme against South Africa to follow, Cook said there was always a possibility England could rest one or more of their regulars, as they did earlier this season against the West Indies.
"There is always a chance that we will rotate," Cook said. "We want to win 4-0 but we will look at selection, like we always do." A key factor in England's recent success has been the form of Cook's opening partner Ian Bell. In five matches since being recalled for one-day duty at the top of the order following Kevin Pietersen's limited overs international retirement, Bell has scored 364 runs at an average of 72.8.
"He is class," said Cook of the Warwickshire batsman. "He is showing it at the top, and he is hard to bowl at because he can score at 360 degrees. We have had to move on from Kev (Pietersen)," Cook added. "Clearly he is a world-class player who is missed, but we have all moved on as a side. People have had to step up to different roles; they have to shoulder that responsibility, and the lads have done that well."
Bell's classical style and lower-profile personality mean he has nothing like the public adulation enjoyed by Pietersen but Cook said his England team-mates were well aware of his quality. "He is certainly not under-appreciated in our dressing room. He has been outstanding over the last couple of years. He works so hard and is always the first one in the nets and is getting the just rewards for that."
England have impressed with the ball, as well as the bat, against Australia. Fast bowler Steven Finn set up England's latest success with a return of 37 for 4 as Australia struggled, albeit in helpful conditions for seamers, to an inadequate 200 for nine. "You have got to discipline yourself (in helpful conditions)," Finn said. "It is not the pitch that matters, but how you bowl. You have to hit the right area from ball one; we did that and built the pressure."
Such is England's bowling strength Finn is currently only on the fringes of the Test side. "It means they (England) have got some really good bowlers in front of him," said Australia captain Michael Clarke. I'm sure he's pushing hard for selection. He's not far away; he's young and fit and bowling well."We've got to find a way to not get out to him, firstly, and then score runs. We've got some work to do. I thought he bowled really well in Australia in the Ashes (in 2010/11) as well. He's getting better."