Cook hails response to Maynard tragedy
Alastair Cook was pleased with the way his side reacted in the second one-day international against West Indies at the Kia Oval following the tragic death of Tom Maynard.
News of the Surrey batsman's passing yesterday hit the England camp hard as players and coaching staff had known or worked with the Welshman in the past.
Both teams wore black armbands and observed a minute's silence for the 23-year-old ahead of England's eight-wicket victory that sealed the NatWest Series with a game to spare.
England were obviously emotional at the start of the encounter, but Cook paid tribute to his players for the way they handled themselves in difficult circumstances.
"It's been a tough 36 hours for us as a team," Cook said.
"It was obviously incredibly sad news and I think quite a few boys were emotional, especially today at the minute's silence. On the cricket front, the way we handled it and came out to set the tone was how we went from there.
"It has been difficult; something like this hits us hard. We have all played with Tom and pretty much all of us have played against him.
"He was a great lad and will be missed. It puts cricket into perspective. We spoke about it and tried to put in a very good team performance, which we did."
Despite the convincing victory, England were tested as Chris Gayle's swashbuckling half-century and a 100-run stand between Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo lifted West Indies.
However, Cook was quick to praise his side's work ethic and was delighted with the way they coped under pressure.
"We came under some pressure with Chris Gayle going well and the powerplay between Pollard and Bravo where we didn't quite get it right," Cook added.
"But we responded both times really well to that and we knew 240 was a competitive total. We knew if we could bat well then we should get it. It was a pretty easy chase in the end.
"We played very well today, it was a really good team performance. Our bowlers did a great job and 240 was very gettable."
Cook continued his excellent limited-overs form since taking over the captaincy from Andrew Strauss with an immaculate century.
The 27-year-old's 112 ensured an England opening batsman has made a ton in their last six 50-over matches, with Cook boasting half of them.
"I haven't really hit the ball as well as I could have in the last month," he said.
"I got a couple of scores in the Test matches, but it was nice to go on today and get a match-winning innings. Any hundred for England is very pleasing."
Bravo helped the Windies rebuild from 79 for four with 77 from 82 balls, but felt the third umpire's decision to uphold Gayle’s leg before dismissal - after umpire Tony Hill had initially given the left-hander out - changed the game in England's favour.
"The decision did not help us. Chris got us off to a very good start, but unfortunately he got out and that put us on the back foot," Bravo said.
"If he hadn't have got out, it might have been a different ball game. We lost it in the middle, Pollard and myself fought back with a hundred partnership, but we weren't in the position to have the firepower to finish the innings."