An emotional Alastair Cook described as “beyond belief” his team’s stunning series victory over Australia as Trent Bridge witnessed an England team written off as contenders regain the Ashes urn with a Test match to spare, reports The Telegraph.
On a gloriously sunny morning in Nottingham England needed just 62 balls to wrap up victory in the fourth Test by an innings and 78 runs to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series with Mark Wood bowling Australia’s last man Nathan Lyon to spark scenes of jubilation at a packed Trent Bridge.
Moments later Michael Clarke confirmed he will retire after the last Test at the Oval becoming the first Australia captain to resign mid-Ashes series as England took revenge for the 5-0 whitewash of 20 months ago. “From the team’s point of view to win like we’ve done is just beyond belief. I didn’t think we were quite ready to win the Ashes at the beginning because I thought you needed a group of players who were match-hardened,” said Cook. “But the guys have surprised me. We have won really critical moments and the players have really stepped up which shouldn’t surprise me but it has. They have made big steps from guys with little experience to match winners and hardened professional players for England.”
Cook joins WG Grace and Mike Brearley as the only two men to captain England to two Ashes series wins at home and could even make history at the Oval in two weeks’ time. England have never won four Tests in a home Ashes series but with Australia in such turmoil they have a golden chance to finish off the job.
Cook fought back tears during the post-match presentation as he reflected on the dark days he has endured as England captain over the past two years which included the 5-0 Ashes whitewash, the Kevin Pietersen affair and losing his job as one-day skipper just weeks before the World Cup. “When you are so close to doing something which you dreamed of doing, you do get a bit emotional,” he said. “Probably you think of everyone there who supported you through the real tough time, mainly my wife, my family and her family. To support me like they have done probably took me over the edge.”
Clarke was tearful too as he revealed he told the Australia players in the morning when they arrived at Trent Bridge that he will be retiring after the Oval. “I certainly don’t want to jump ship and leave the boys now. I’ll play the last Test, give it one last crack, but the time is right now,” Clarke said. “I believe it’s the right decision for Australian cricket and for me.”