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Determined Cook won’t get ahead of himself

By Rob Barnett at Lord's

Alastair Cook wants to grind Australia down in the Investec Ashes, but believes it is too early to talk about a potential whitewash.

Cook and Co certainly ground the tourists down at Lord's with an utterly emphatic 347-run triumph, their second-heaviest Ashes win in terms of a runs margin, to double their series lead with three Tests to play.

Setting Australia a gargantuan 583 to win epitomised their domination. England batted on this morning to build that target and give Joe Root the chance of a maiden international double-century.

Man-of-the-match Root could add only two to his overnight 178 and his departure prompted Cook to declare. The tourists showed enough fight to force England to take the extra half hour available to them, but Graeme Swann completed victory with three balls left on day four.

Asked if he batted on this morning to grind Australia down, Cook replied: "Without a doubt. We wanted to bat for a bit longer. You know how hard it is...if we'd been in (the) field for such a long time.

"That, and also to give Joe Root the chance of a double-hundred. Unfortunately that didn't happen but I think the half hour we batted this morning was worth it."

The series now moves on to Emirates Old Trafford, whose Test starts on Thursday week, and Cook is not thinking beyond that game.

On the possibility of a whitewash, he said: "It's certainly too early for that. You only have to look at our dressing room to see how hard we've had to work to win these two games.

"At certain moments in this game we were right under the cosh. It's huge credit to the lads that we've managed to pull through.

"It's a good dressing room to be in. We'll enjoy tonight, recover well and we'll come back at Old Trafford and see how we can go about winning the game."

On the here and now, Cook credited himself and his team-mates on such a scale of victory.

"Certainly in this game to win by as big a margin as that is testament to the 11 guys who played for England," he reflected.

"Clearly there were some times when we were under pressure - certainly 30 for three on the first morning was not ideal and losing wickets late on day one meant it was probably even-stevens.

"Apart from that we really upped our level with both ball and bat and wore them down."

The difference between the sides in this Test was England's ability to bat for long periods and Australia's inability to follow suit.

Ian Bell and Root hit hundreds but today's fifties from Usman Khawaja and Michael Clarke were the tourists' best scores.

Cook naturally cited England batting coach and former opener Graham Gooch, saying: "Goochy, our teacher, that's what his bread and butter was.

"He's tried to breed it into us, trying to get into that tempo of batting. He bangs on all the time about it. Over the last few years we have managed to get bigger hundreds."

Rather than denigrate Australia's batting, Cook emphasised the quality of his attack, in this match led by Swann's nine wickets.

"We have to give credit to the way we bowled," he continued. "Twice now we've been probably par with the bat in first innings. This was about par and we were below par at Trent Bridge.

"Our bowlers have dug us out of a bit of a situation with some seriously skilful bowling. All four of the seamers who have played have done that.

"It's good to know when we apply some pressure to the Australia upper order we can get some rewards."

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