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Cook issues rallying cry

Alastair Cook reacts to England's 281-run defeat in the fifth and final Ashes Test

Captain Alastair Cook urged England to show courage and bounce back from their disappointing 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

A batting collapse saw the tourists bowled out for 166 in their second innings at Sydney to confirm a 281-run win for Australia.

To add insult to injury, the result saw Michael Clarke’s men leapfrog them in the International Cricket Council rankings as England slipped to fourth.

It is the second time in three series in Australia that England have been beaten 5-0, and Cook looked back to that occasion for proof that his side can recover.

“It is the second five-nil I have been part of,” he told ecb.co.uk. “They were both hard to take but what I do know is that it makes your really kick your game forward because of the hurt and determination to improve.

“That is how we have to look at it as an England side. We are at rock bottom and the only way is up.

“We have got six months until our next Test match and a lot of work will go into those months. We have all got to look at our games.”

Cook admitted it was tough to take such comprehensive defeats in all five games.

“It is the toughest moment of my cricket career and tough knowing you’ve played in five games and been beaten badly in five games,” he said. “As a sportsman that’s the hardest thing to take.

“We left everything out there but we weren’t good enough. We weren’t good enough to turn it around.

“We tried to change the way we played but you’ve got to give credit to Michael [Clarke] and his team; anything we could throw at them they responded incredibly well and they thoroughly deserve their 5-0 win.”

Asked what he had learned from the series as captain, Cook said: “At certain times you’ve got to take the game more by the scruff of the neck.

“They were 130 for five a number of times and we couldn’t get Brad Haddin out. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit.

“And probably at certain times [you have to] be stronger in certain decisions on the field.”

Cook, though, ultimately believes England will be stronger for their experience Down Under.

“One thing we can say we’ve done well is stuck together,” he said. “At times like this factions can corner off in the dressing room and there can be a lot of backstabbing but I can safely say that hasn’t happened.

“But the bottom line is out in the middle is where it counts. If you look back at 2006-07, it made me take a good look at my game, it made us have a real look at ourselves as an England team and a lot of good came from it.

“I have a feeling this will be good for us in the long term. A lot of those young players ... Stokesy (Ben Stokes) has done a fantastic job for us and he’s a real shining light in being able to balance that side. He knows how much hard work [is needed] and how hard Test cricket can be after playing in this.

“Rooty(Joe Root), we know he’s going to be a very good player. He’s going to have to look at his technique, so that will only bode well in the future.

“Gary Ballance as well I thought looked very composed at the crease. But when this happens you look at yourself, you look at your technique. Where can you improve? It happened last time and I think it will happen again this time.”

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