Victorious England skipper Alastair Cook didn’t think his side would be good enough to beat Australia at the start of the Ashes series.
Cook became only the third man behind WG Grace and Mike Brearley to captain an England side to two Ashes series victories on home soil after the hosts wrapped up an innings and 78-run win early on day three at Trent Bridge.
However, the 30-year-old, who was at the helm for the disastrous 5-0 whitewash in Australia 18 months ago and also recent drawn series against New Zealand and the West Indies, admitted he was surprised at how well his men had played.
“From the team’s point of view, to win like we’ve done is beyond belief,” Cook said after England took a 3-1 series lead over the Australians.
“I didn’t think we were quite ready to win the Ashes at the beginning because I thought you needed a group of players that were match hardened.
“But the guys have surprised me. We have won critical moments and players have really stepped up which shouldn’t surprise me but it has.
“Guys with little match experience have became hardened professionals … every one of the guys can be proud of how they have coped with the pressure.”
The result of the Test was essentially assured on day one when Australia were skittled for 60 with Stuart Broad taking 8-15 in one of the great spells of Ashes bowling.
Cook hailed the performance of the lanky seamer, who once again proved to be a thorn in the side of the Australians in England.
“We did all the damage in the first hour and a half, when you bowl out a side for 60 you often win the game,” he said.
“But the other guys stood up with Jimmy (Anderson) out of the side and rose to the pressure.
“They should be incredibly proud of their last three days of work.”