England future excites Cook

2015-08-23 21:30
Alastair Cook (AFP)

London - England captain Alastair Cook said he was excited by the future for his emerging side following their Ashes campaign win over Australia.

The series ended on a disappointing note for Cook's men as Australia won the fifth and final Test by an innings and 46 runs on the fourth day at The Oval on Sunday.

But it still meant England had won the series 3-2, an overall result that confounded the forecasts of many pundits.

England now face two tough Test tours, against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and to South Africa, before the end of the year.

But Cook told BBC Radio's Test Match Special: "It's exciting. There's going to be some amazing times and some tough times too.

The opening batsman added: "Are we near the peak? No we're not, we're nowhere near the finished article, but we've got a very exciting team and I genuinely believe there will be some really good times."

England, made to follow-on, were bowled out for 286 in their second innings after initially being skittled out for 149 in reply to Australia's first innings 481, which featured captain-elect Steven Smith's 143.

Australia, after losing the toss, produced a far more resolute first-innings batting display than in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge where they collapsed to 60 all out, with Stuart Broad taking eight for 15 to set up England's Ashes-clinching innings and 78-run victory.

"The last four days haven't quite gone to plan and we're disappointed, but going into the series no-one gave us a chance, so we can't let that take the gloss off a special summer," said Cook.

For Australia captain Michael Clarke and opening batsman Chris Rogers, both retiring from Test cricket, this match marked the end of their international careers.

Clarke bowed out having never won an away Ashes series in any of his four tours of Britain.

"After the last Test, I don't think it could have gone any better - this performance is a reward for the hard work we've put in over the tour," Clarke said.

"I don't think regret is the right word - there was disappointment after we lost the series, but it shows the true character of the guys to come back and play our best cricket here."

The 34-year-old Clarke, one of the best batsmen of his generation, added: "I was really lucky to come into a very experienced and great Australian team and those guys mentored me and helped me grow.

"It's a privilege and an honour to captain Australia, and Steve Smith will be a fantastic captain."

Smith was named man-of-the-match, having become the first Australian to score more than 500 runs in an Ashes series in England since Matthew Elliott in 1997.

"It was a tough series for batsmen," said Smith, who made a career-best 215 in Australia's 405-run win in the second Test at Lord's - over the other side of London's River Thames from The Oval.

"I like batting in London but it's been disappointing for us to play the way we have throughout the series. Michael has been outstanding - he's had a terrific career and been a great captain and I've certainly learnt a lot off him."

Australia coach Darren Lehmann added: "Full credit to England - they won the key moments in this series, they outplayed us.

"We had four of the five top wicket-takers and three of the four top run-scorers, but we didn't win the key moments," the former Australia batsman added.

"It was an unbelievable series."

Read more on:    england  |  ashes  |  alastair cook  |  cricket

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