Real test is in the sub-continent next month: Cook

Cardiff: England may have dominated India in the just-concluded series but ODI skipper Alastair Cook warns that the real test would be to repeat the performance when the side plays Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s men in their backyard next month.

England wrapped up the five-match ODI series 3-0 (one match rained out and another ending tied). A delighted Cook said he was happy with the progress his side has made in the one-day arena but was candid to admit that it would be quite challenge in the sub-continental conditions.

"We are going to need that over the next couple of months in the sub-continental conditions, where we haven`t played a huge amount of successful one-day cricket," Cook said after the six-wicket win over India in the fifth and final ODI here yesterday.

"Our learning curve is going to be steep, but I`m very confident in the players we`ve got. When we went to India last time (in 2008) we didn`t win a game, so that shows the challenge we have ahead of us in these next two months," he added, referring to the five-match ODI series starting October 14 in Hyderabad.

Cook was overtly delighted at the discovery of a young talent in Jonny Bairstow who made his side`s difficult chase an easy one yesterday.

"What a way to make an international statement...I think we`ve just found a player. I don`t want to heap too much pressure on him. But to make your debut like that and go and play in such a controlled but such a positive way was incredible," Cook said.

"Everyone, the lads in the dressing room, was saying we`ve just found one," he added in appreciation of the debutant`s innings.

Bairstow made 41 from 21 balls with a four and three sixes and helped England chase down a difficult target of 241 in 34 overs with 10 balls still remaining.

"The batting line-up as a whole can take a lot of credit for that, and the way Jonny (Bairstow) and Ravi (Bopara) finished it off was spectacular. What we have done is started off on what we hope will be a very successful journey," Cook said.

"With these young players coming in now - people like Jade, who`s made a mark, obviously Jonny, Ben Stokes - I`m very happy with how we`ve played in certain areas."

As a batsman and captain, Cook believes he has made some steady progress.

"The last couple of games I don`t think I`ve played as well as I could have done. I think I`ve struggled a little bit with my timing.”

"It always takes time for a new captain to come in and players to get used to your style. But we`ll call it a good start, and move on from there."

Talking about yesterday`s game, Cook believed his side still needed to improve how they bowled in the final 10-15 overs.

"With the ball, in the last 15 overs we`ve been put under a huge amount of pressure - and that`s an area we know history suggests we need to improve.”

"We`re thinking all the time. But in an ideal world, they probably always got 20 or 30 too many."

Bairstow, named man of the match in his first game itself, was delighted at how the game turned out for him.

"I just wanted to go out and play my natural game. It wasn`t necessarily easy, and it was really pleasing the way it turned out in the end. There were obviously some nerves. That`s only natural, and you`ve just got to turn them into something positive," he said.

"It was a new challenge and something I really enjoyed. A massive part of it is how the guys, the captain and the coach, make you feel when you come into the set-up. You`re made to feel completely at home," he added.


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