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Ashes: Alastair Cook hot streak follows 'lonely' summer

Fifth Ashes Test: Australia 280 v England 488-7 (stumps, day three)
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground Resumes: 2300 GMT Coverage: Live on Test Match Special (from 2245 GMT) on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW & online; TMS highlights online (UK only) and day's review on the TMS podcast; live text on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4
Match scorecard

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Cook 'very proud' of Ashes runs

Batsman Alastair Cook said the pain of enduring a poor summer for England had helped him produce his remarkable run of form against Australia in the Ashes.

Cook's 189 on day three of the final Test in Sydney gave him 766 runs in all, the second-best haul in any series by an English cricketer.

He said: "I spent a lot of last summer not scoring runs and it's a bit lonely to have to watch your team-mates do it.

"You always know that when you do get in you need to score big runs."

Cook's efforts began with 67 and 235 not out in Brisbane, and continued with 148 in Adelaide. A blip in Perth (32 and 13) was put to one side when he added 82 in Melbourne - and he almost hit a second double century in Sydney.

TOM FORDYCE'S BLOG

With 16 Test centuries racked up only 11 days past his 26th birthday, the future looks bright for the Essex left-hander.

Before the first Test, however, Cook's place in the Ashes team was questioned - though never seriously under threat. The doubts followed a summer of poor scores against Bangladesh and Pakistan, though his lean run finally came to an end with an important century at The Oval.

Two more failures in the first tour match in Australia re-awakened fears over his form, but after hitting 111 in the second tour match against South Australia he has not looked back - and despite James Anderson's big wickets tally he looks certain to claim the player of the series award.

"We have a great set-up in the England camp and my confidence has built up over a period of time," said Cook.

"When you are in form, you can switch off a little bit and just think about watching the ball. It becomes a bit of a blur, you don't get flustered and don't have to worry about your form. Luckily it has happened at a good time for me."

Ian Bell, into his fourth Ashes campaign, produced an overdue first Test century against the Australians as England established a position that looks set to ensure a series win.

Bell, batting at six, said: "Early in my career I was outdone by Australia. It's nice to come through here and bat well. Hopefully in the future I can kick on and score some more.

"We have a great ethic in the team: how we train, how we net with [batting coach] Graham Gooch, what we take on to the field. It's helped my game; how I play in the nets has helped me score hundreds."

There was one moment of controversy for Bell to endure, when he successfully challenged a decision after being given out caught behind on 67. Umpire Aleem Dar's original ruling was overturned on the basis of Hotspot failing to detect an edge, although the stump microphone picked up a sound.

"You have to use the decisions very carefully. [Non-striker] Matt Prior was confident I hadn't hit it but I wasn't confident 100% either way," added Bell.

Listen to commentary highlights from the fifth Test (UK users only)

TMS podcast: Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott's review (available worldwide)



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see also
Cook and Bell make Aussies suffer
05 Jan 11 |  England
Fifth Ashes Test day three photos
04 Jan 11 |  England
Wednesday's Ashes gossip column
05 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cook builds England reply at SCG
04 Jan 11 |  England
England on top in rain-hit Sydney
03 Jan 11 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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