Cook predicts special times ahead for England

Birmingham: England hero Alastair Cook was confident the team`s rise to the top of the world rankings on Saturday would spur them on to greater success.

Left-handed opener Cook laid the foundations to England`s crushing innings and 242-run victory over the hapless Indians at Edgbaston with his career best score of 294. His seventh century in his last 13 Tests helped the hosts to open up a 3-0 lead in the four-match series.

"I think we`re on the way to doing something special," man-of-the-match Cook, who helped the team to amass 710 for seven declared in their first innings, told reporters. "It`s been a huge privilege for me to play in this team and I think we all feel that at the moment.”

"But I think we`re still at the start of a journey, rather than the end of it. We will enjoy tonight and what we`ve achieved but then come back in the next couple of days desperate to start again. That`s where this side is at."

Their performance has prompted may people to heap praise on the team, including British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"I congratulate the England cricket team on their fantastic achievement," Cameron said.

"Their performance in this Test, including England`s highest ever innings score in a non timeless Test, and Alistair Cook`s magnificent 294 against the team that has up to now been ranked number one in the World, is a tribute to their domination of the sport.”

"The whole nation can be very proud of our team of world beaters."

During this series, Cook is just one five England batsmen to have registered centuries against an Indian team that had arrived for the tour ranked number one and boasted in Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Test cricket`s most prolific scorers.

While India`s much-hyped batting lineup spectacularly misfired in all three matches -- having failed to reach 300 in six innings -- Andrew Strauss`s men have been so dominant that the visitors failed to bowl them out in the first and third Tests.

Completely Outplayed

"You need to score runs and take wickets. Cricket is a simple game, in Test matches you need to take 20 wickets and at the same time score more runs than the opposition. We have not clicked as a batting unit," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni told reporters before hinting the side had been hampered by the absence through injury of their main strike bowler Zaheer Khan.

"I`m happy with the bowlers - in the first two games it was tough on them with just three bowlers.”

"The series just has not gone our way. Most of the sessions were won by them. We have been completely outplayed in the series so far."

India have one last chance to save face, and a whitewash, in next week`s final five-day outing at The Oval but they will be up against the likes of Strauss and Cook, who will both want to add to their tally of 19 Test centuries.

Even the statistics among the bowlers are stacking up. Spearhead James Anderson passed Alec Bedser`s haul of 236 Test wickets at Edgbaston to become the seventh-highest wicket-taker for England.

Given the impressive numbers, it may not surprise then that England have now won their last six Test series. They have the chance to make that eight when they meet Pakistan and Sri Lanka overseas early next year.

"We honestly try to break it down far more simply than that and just try to control the next game, and that is what`s worked so well for us," said Cook, who replaced Strauss as England`s one-day captain following the World Cup.

"Then we try to break each game down into little segments, and we hope it will continue to work really well like that."

Strauss also promised that England would not be taking their new position at the summit of Test cricket for granted.

"There are a number of other teams anxious to have this mantle to be the number one side," Strauss said. "So I think it`s arrogant for us to just assume we can just waltz our way and just assume everything`s going to be hunky-dory all the time.”

"We`re going to have to be determined and desperate to stay there and the way to do that is not by focusing on the rankings. It`s by getting your competitive juices flowing in any series we play. That`s exactly what we`re going to have to do."

Bureau Report

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