England surpass captain Alastair Cook's expectations
England one-day captain Alastair Cook says his side have surpassed his expectations with their 4-0 series win over world number one side Australia.
Tuesday's seven-wicket win at Old Trafford was England's 10th straight ODI win and moved them up to third in the world rankings.
"Clearly at the beginning of the series, you'd scrap and take a series win," said Cook.
"So to win 4-0, it's fantastic and a huge credit to the lads."
"It has been such a one-sided contest. It's easy to sit here and say how good England have been, but you also have to look at Australia and ask what direction they are going. They have got a lot of work to do, they have been hammered."
While England have established themselves as the world's best Test side, their ODI performances have not always matched their levels of excellence in the longer format of the game.
However, under Cook's captaincy they have improved notably and remain unbeaten in 2012 following a 4-0 series win over Pakistan in February, a 2-0 win over the West Indies in June and the victory over Australia.
Had they beaten Australia in the rained-off third ODI at Edgbaston they would have surpassed Michael Clarke's side at the top of the rankings.
"It feels good, great to win the series," said the 27-year-old. "It's been a brilliant effort from the lads.
"We've always been at Australia, and always tried to put them under some pressure."
Such was England's dominance over their old rivals that no batsman below number six Craig Kieswetter was needed in the series.
"Somebody said our number seven didn't get a bat, so that's credit to the top order," Cook added.
England's 10 in a row in 2012
- 13 Feb: Beat Pakistan by 130 runs in Abu Dhabi
- 15 Feb: Beat Pakistan by 20 runs in Aby Dhabi
- 18 Feb: Beat Pakistan by nine wickets in Dubai
- 21 Feb: Beat Pakistan by four wickets in Dubai
- 16 Jun: Beat West Indies by 114 runs at the Rose Bowl
- 19 Jun: Beat West Indies by eight wickets at the Oval
- 29 Jun: Beat Australia by 15 runs at Lord's
- 1 Jul: Beat Australia by six wickets at the Oval
- 7 Jul: Beat Australia by eight wickets at the Riverside
- 10 Jul: Beat Australia by seven wickets at Old Trafford
"It was another really good performance set up by the bowlers, and it was nice to get over the line at the end.
"Australia were always fighting against us - and we didn't let them get runs. So credit to the guys who bowled."
In a rain-affected game at Old Trafford, recalled spinner James Tredwell and Ravi Bopara took two wickets apiece as England restricted Australia to 145-7 from 32 overs.
Set a revised target of 138 from 29 overs, England got home with 11 balls to spare thanks to a stand of 92 between Cook (58) and Ravi Bopara (52 not out).
Bopara was named man of the match and earned the praise of captain and Essex team-mate Cook.
"We know what a quality player he is and he's started to deliver in the last couple of years for England," Cook said.
Opener Ian Bell, who filled the void left by Kevin Pietersen's retirement, only scored four on Tuesday but amassed 189 runs overall to earn the man of the series.
"I've really enjoyed it, and I think we've [Bell and Cook] done pretty well as an opening partnership.
"We complement each other, and I've enjoyed that partnership as much as scoring runs myself.
ODI world rankings (11 July)
- Australia: 119
- South Africa: 118
- England: 118
- India: 117
- Sri Lanka: 112
- Pakistan: 103
- West Indies: 87
- New Zealand: 83
- Bangladesh: 67
- Zimbabwe: 46
- Ireland: 36
- Netherlands: 15
- Kenya: 8
"Our bowling has been absolutely unbelievable these last two series, so we haven't actually had to chase too many big scores."
Cook's opposite number Clarke was magnanimous in defeat - Australia's worst ever in an ODI series against any opponents.
"There are a lot of good teams at the moment but I think England's bowling attack is as good as there is in the world," Clarke admitted.
"I think South Africa are right up there as well, especially in the Test format.
"That's why I think England have played their Test attack in these one-dayers.
"They're experienced. They've played a lot of cricket together, and they continue to improve.
"It takes a long period of time to be number one in the world. You have to earn that.
"They've certainly earned that in the Test format, and are heading in that direction in the one-day format."
England next face South Africa in a three-match Test series, starting on 19 July, followed by five ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals.