Cook reflects on squandered chance
Alastair Cook was left to rue a sloppy batting display after England missed the opportunity to record a NatWest Series victory over South Africa.
Cook's men suffered a seven-wicket defeat in the final one-day international at Trent Bridge, ensuring the five-match rubber was drawn, with both teams having won two games following an abandonment in Cardiff.
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers contributed unbeaten scores of 97 and 75 for the Proteas, but the damage had been done earlier in the game when England limped to 182 all out after winning the toss.
Cook, who top-scored with 51, was one of several batsmen to depart in tame fashion and admitted his side's performance with the bat fell short of the mark.
"We're clearly very frustrated and disappointed - especially with the manner of the dismissals," said the skipper. "I don't think I've played in a game where we've given away so many dismissals before.
"These things can happen, but it's very frustrating when it does happen to you, especially in a series that's there to win. All of us, from one to 11, just played some pretty poor shots."
England initially responded strongly with the ball, reducing South Africa to 14 for three through Jade Dernbach's early removal of Graeme Smith and successive wicket-maidens from James Anderson.
However, an unbroken partnership of 172 between Amla and de Villiers enabled the tourists to coast home with more than 15 overs unused.
"We knew, if we were to have any chance, we had to bowl them out," added Cook. "So we came at them, and Jimmy and Jade got some good wickets.
"At 14 for three we were one wicket away from causing a few nerves in the camp, but with those two (Amla and de Villiers) in, they showed what a good batting wicket it was - and they gave us no chances."
Cook was able to smile when questioned on how difficult it will be for England to remove Amla during the forthcoming Twenty20 series.
The 29-year-old contributed 482 runs during the Investec Tests and 335 across four ODI innings.
Cook, who does not feature in England's T20 squad, joked: "It's a good job it's not my problem (how to get him out).”
South Africa captain de Villiers was thrilled with his side's efforts, which came on the back of two England victories in the capital.
"It was a big game for us - it's great that we squared it up at two-all," he said.
"The guys came here and showed a lot of character. We had a couple of ODIs in a row where we just didn't play good cricket, but the fact that we came back here, under pressure and down the eight ball - I'm very proud of the boys."
De Villiers was also satisfied with his personal contribution, after finally reaching 50 against England for the first time this summer.
"I thought I played well today," he stated. "I felt like I was in good form right throughout the Tests and the ODIs, but I just never really kicked on which has been disappointing.
"It's always nice to play well for your team under pressure and I could see in the guys' faces when we walked off that they were very happy for both of us and very happy with the win."