Cook lauds impressive England
Alastair Cook paid tribute to an outstanding all-round team performance as England won their ninth successive one-day international.
Australia once again proved no match for the in-form hosts, who cruised to an eight-wicket success at the Emirates Durham ICG to seal a seventh straight home series victory in 50-over cricket.
Their triumph today was built upon a fine display from Steven Finn, who claimed 4-37 as Australia were restricted to 200 for nine.
Another impressive victory over the old enemy was duly secured - though Cook insisted England had worked hard for their win.
“The margin of victory looks quite comfortable today and in the other games,” he said. “But we have had to fight really hard.
“We had the best of the conditions today, but you have still got to put in a really good performance. The way the lads, Jimmy (Anderson) and Finny especially, set the tone made it extremely difficult for Australia.
"We are heading in the right direction and the lads put in a really solid performance. We have never been great at putting in back-to-back performances in one-day internationals, but have won nine in a row now.”
A victory target of 201 initially looked like it could be a little tricky on a surface that offered assistance for the seamers throughout.
But Ian Bell continued his fine form since returning to England’s ODI fold, striking 69 to follow up recent scores of 126, 53, 41 and 75.
Today’s effort was little surprise as Bell further strengthened his position at the top of the order.
“He (Bell) is class,” said Cook. “He is showing it at the top and is hard to bowl at because he can score at 360 degrees.
“We are getting off to good starts, which makes it easier for our lower order. Belly is certainly not underappreciated in our dressing room. He has been outstanding over the last couple of years.
“He works so hard and is always the first one in the nets and is getting the just rewards for that.”
Jonathan Trott then followed up Bell’s good work with 64 not out to see England home - much to the dismay of Australia captain Michael Clarke, who could not hide his admiration for Finn in particular.
“Unfortunately, once again today, we were outplayed,” Clarke admitted. “He (Finn) bowled well once again.
“He is young and fit and bowling well. We have got to find a way to not get out to him, firstly, and then score runs. We have got some work to do.
“I thought he bowled really well in Australia in the Ashes as well. He is getting better.”