Ashes 2013: now we want to win the series in style, says England captain Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook described the feeling after England emphatically retained the Ashes as “very pleasant” and
the captain now wants to win the series in style.
By Nick Hoult
10:51PM BST 05 Aug 2013
England have now either won or retained the Ashes in four of the past five contests and on Monday they achieved the feat after only 14 days of cricket. Australia have not been put out of the running this quickly since 1905.
When the umpires called off play at 4.39pm as rain slanted down in Manchester to confirm a draw and leave England 2-0 up, Cook could reflect on becoming the first England captain since Percy Chapman in 1928-29 to ensure the Ashes were retained only three Tests into a five-match series.
“It’s been a bit of a strange day but if you had said 14 days ago that I’d be sitting here having retained the Ashes after three games I’d have bitten your hand off,” Cook said. “The weather has not been ideal today and the atmosphere is not helped because of that but the feeling in the dressing room is a very pleasant one.
“Two-nil up with two to play is a good place to be. Our first objective was to retain the Ashes, now I want to win them. We saw in this Test how competitive Australia are. We played very well at Lord’s and they played very well here but we showed a lot of fighting character to get through this game. Now we need to up our levels at Durham.”
This series moves on quickly, England travel to Durham on Tuesday and the fourth Test starts on Friday, leaving Cook little time to savour his moment. “We have to go to Durham now and try to win them there or at the Oval and that’s the ultimate goal,” he said.
“We have some work to do the next couple of days to make sure we are as well prepared as we were coming into this Test match – if we play with the same attitude and the same commitment I am confident we can have success.”
As many England players signed autographs for the fans who stayed on in the rain, Graeme Swann expressed his delight at the day’s events on Twitter. “Many times I have cursed the rain in Manchester, but today I would take it home to meet my grandma and marry it,” he wrote.
Michael Clarke, Australia’s captain, was gracious in defeat and hid his frustration at the weather preventing his side from having the chance to win the Test having dominated significant parts of it. He was pleased his side regained some respect at Old Trafford after being thrashed at Lord’s.
“All the boys are quite disappointed at not getting over the line but in saying that I certainly don’t want to take anything away from England. They outplayed us in the first two Test matches – especially at Lord’s – and you know when you come to the UK that there is a chance that rain is going to play a part in the series and we got ourselves in to the position of being 2-0 down and it was always going to be tough coming back,” he said.
“I was confident that with that amount of time if we had got 20 overs last night and 90 overs today that on a deteriorating pitch we could have taken the 10 wickets required. Drawing the series is most definitely our goal. With the type of cricket we played throughout the four days here we will give it a good chase.”
England have insisted this summer they pay no heed to weather forecasts but they looked to have cut it fine on Monday morning, arriving in dribs and drabs as the ground staff managed to ensure play started at 11.30am.
“It’s was a strange morning with the amount of rain forecast that didn’t deliver – actually all the important people were here,” said Cook. “The top four or five were here in plenty of time, I don’t put that down as to the reason we were 30 for three, they bowled very well, you give Australia a lot of credit on a very good wicket.”
One of those wickets was Kevin Pietersen, who was caught behind off Peter Siddle. He reviewed the decision and Hot Spot failed to show a mark. He was given out by the third umpire on the basis of audio evidence but Pietersen was clearly angered by the decision and walked off shaking his head, a further indication the teams do not trust Hot Spot.
“Both sides in this game have been quite confused with some of the decisions which have occurred,” said Cook. “In practice DRS has worked well. It is just in this series, and I don’t know if it is because it is the Ashes and the cricket gods have got involved, but we have been a little bit confused why certain decisions have been overturned.”