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Cook shares recipe for success

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Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook, whose 189 took his series aggregate to 766, said his motivation comes from “when you don’t score runs"

Alastair Cook today revealed his lean summer spurred him on to his prolific Ashes series.

The left-handed opener converted his overnight 61 into 189, taking him to 766 runs for the series, as England moved into a commanding position in the final Ashes Test.

The tourists made 488 for seven, boosted by Cook’s ton - the third time he has reached three figures this series - and Ian Bell’s first Ashes century to end day three at the Sydney Cricket Ground with a lead of 208.

Asked what has motivated him this winter, Cook, who has batted for 2,171 minutes - more than 36 hours - in the series, replied: “When you don’t score runs.

“I spent a lot of last summer not scoring runs and it’s a pretty lonely spot when you keep walking back in with not many on the board and watching your team-mates scoring.

“I just think that when you don’t get many for a while, when you find a bit of form you’ve got to make the most. As Goochie (batting coach Graham Gooch) says, ‘you’ve never got enough’.”

For Cook, who started the winter with single-figure scores in his first two attempts against Western Australia, a first-class tally of more than 1,000 runs since then is astounding.

“I could only have dreamt about it six or seven weeks ago, especially after that first warm-up game,” he said.

“I didn’t get any runs, and this looked a long way away. I can’t really believe what I’ve achieved and what the side has achieved.”

Cook, who made 235 not out at Brisbane and 148 in Adelaide, attributed his success to to a combination of a solid technique plus mental and physical strength.

“My technique I’ve gone back to, I pretty much what I started with, and then a few areas of my game in terms of the mental side,” he revealed.

Ian Bell

Ian Bell registers his first Ashes hundred after 11 half-centuries, an achievement he later claimed meant "everything" to him

“It’s a lot of hard work in the gym. I’m lucky that I don’t sweat so I don’t get too hot and uncomfortable and I’m quite a fit lad so it’s not too much of a problem.”

Cook also gave an insight into his state of mind at the crease.

“When you’re in form you’re not so much worrying about you technique or what the bowler’s trying to do; you are just watching that ball,” he added.

“It all becomes a little bit of a blur. It all moulds into one, and you don’t really get flustered. You just kind of get in a rhythm and suddenly an hour goes and it’s drinks and you wonder where it’s gone.”

Bell, also in the form of his life, was thrilled with his 115.

“It means everything,” he enthused. “I’ve had a pretty tough time against Australia - my record isn’t fantastic - so it’s great to go on and get three figures for the first time and hopefully I can kick on from here.”

The middle-order batsman had previously scored 11 fifties in 30 Test innings against Australia.

“Early in my career I was pretty much outdone by Australia so it’s nice to have come through here and have batted well,” he continued.

Like Cook, Bell paid tribute to former England opener Gooch, who has been working with Andrew Strauss’ side since November 2009.

“We have a great ethic in the team, how we train, how we net with Goochie. That’s what we take on to the field,” he said.

“That’s something that’s really helped my game, how we practise in the nets, trying to score big hundreds. Like I said, it seems to have worked with me and hopefully I can carry on that method for my career now.”

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