- England v India, 5th Test
An amazing turnaround, says Cook
Alastair Cook admits the overwhelming nature of the way England turned around the Test series against India had been beyond his wildest expectations.
It took England less than 30 overs to blow the visitors away for a final time, removing them for 94 on the third afternoon at The Oval, after they batted aggressively at the start of the day. The pace quartet of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan was too much for a shell-shocked India side who have barely won a session since taking a 1-0 series lead at Lord's.
While Cook had always backed his team's ability to turn the tables, when asked if he envisaged such convincing victories - by 266 runs, an innings and 54 runs and now an innings and 244 runs - Cook said: "No, not like we have done in the last two games. Before we won at Southampton we played cricket in patches then let it go in an hour or so, so to maintain the pressure on India like we have in the last three games, that last hour showed when India crumbled but that was because of relentless pressure.
"It is an amazing turnaround after Lord's to have won like we have in the last three games, the guys can take a huge amount of credit and the new coaching staff."
In the build-up to the final Test, Cook admitted he started to question his role as captain after the loss to Sri Lanka earlier this season and once again acknowledged the support from those around him when his position was doubted earlier in this series.
"It's great to have the support of the guys in the tough times and then the good times like now make it all worthwhile," he said. "That's what sport can do to you. You can have your tough times and it's the character you need to bounce back. We have to enjoy tonight and then look at the reasons why we went from playing how we were to playing good cricket."
Joe Root, who finished unbeaten on 149 on the third morning to complete an outstanding Test season which included three hundreds, lauded the team effort to change the course of the series.
"It's always nice to score runs and you want to score as many as you can, but to finish like we did today was really pleasing," Root said. "We've had to show a lot of character since Lord's and dig deep. It's nice to score runs and win again."