Cook ready to rewrite history

England

England captain Alastair Cook has welcomed the opportunity to resign Australia to an unprecedented result, ahead of the fifth and final Test, which will get underway at The Oval on Wednesday.

England captain Alastair Cook has welcomed the opportunity to resign Australia to an unprecedented result, ahead of the fifth and final Test, which will get underway at The Oval on Wednesday.

The English have never won four Tests against the Australians in the United Kingdom and have never secured an Ashes series by a four-nil margin, although they did win four-one in Australia in 1912 and in 1928 – before taking a six-match series five-one against an Australia side weakened by defections to the unofficial world series in 1979.

Three-nil up on the back of a 14-run triumph at Trent Bridge, 347-run win at Lord's, rain-affected draw at Old Trafford and 74-run victory at Chester-le-Street, Cook is looking forward to completing the substantial sweep in London.

"We've obviously found ourselves in a pretty good situation and we've got an opportunity to do something which an England side has never done before to Australia. That's pretty good motivation in itself," said Cook.

"It's always nice if you're part of a side that does create history, we've earned the right to do that. It will be really good to win again at The Oval, and keeps this good run of results going for a while."

England's success has largely been built on the back of the batsman Ian Bell's superb form. The talented right-hander has struck three centuries and two complementary half-tons en route to 500 runs – and an average of 71.42 – this series.

"Ian has got to be very close to the Man of the Series award because those runs he has scored have been fantastic when we've needed them the most. They've been vital runs all the time, all three of his tons. He couldn't have done any more," added Cook.

"Everyone has said this has been the making of Bell and I looked at that and almost laughed because he'd almost scored 6000 Test runs and 17 centuries before the Ashes which is an extraordinary achievement in itself. He has always been a star in our eyes."

The 28-year-old Cook, meanwhile, has copped criticism from former Australian leg spinner-turned-television commentator Shane Warne, who questioned the tourists' cautious approach during the Durham Test.

"I'd much rather be in my position getting criticised for my captaincy and being three-nil up, make no mistake about that. Warne might genuinely believe that. The beauty of cricket is, as we always know, there is a lot of different ways to skin the cat," insisted Cook.

"We know he is working for them so of course when you have the media like he has, of course he's got a place to talk to about it. It hasn't been the first time I've been criticised as a player or a captain and it certainly won't be the last."

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