Cook hails England's top order
Alastair Cook paid tribute to his top-order colleagues after England completed a perfect series against Australia.
The hosts won four of the five one-day internationals, with the third match at Edgbaston abandoned without a ball bowled, wrapping up the series with a seven-wicket win at Old Trafford. The achievement took England to number three in the 50-over world rankings and came without any batsman below number six Craig Kieswetter even being required during the series.
"Somebody said our number seven didn't get a bat so that's credit to the top order," Cook told Sky Sports 1. "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."
Opener Ian Bell filled the void left by Kevin Pietersen's retirement with 189 runs to earn the man of the series award, while Ravi Bopara was named as Tuesday's man of the match after adding an unbeaten 52 to his two wickets.
Cook added of his Essex team-mate: "We know what a quality player he is and he's started to deliver in the last couple of years for England, and hopefully he can deliver on that."
Bell joined his captain in praise of the bowling attack, who have limited the tourists to scores of 257, 251 and 200 earlier in the series before Tuesday's 145 in an innings reduced by rain to 32 overs.
"We were helped by the bowlers," said Bell, who made only four in a rare failure. "They set the tone a lot of the time and it was nice to chase perhaps slightly lower totals. "(Opening) probably suits my style more than lower down the order, I've got a nice partnership there with Cookie and if we can carry on that form it'll be good for the future."
Bopara added: "The lads played really well. The pitch was a little bit 'stoppy' but I think it got better as the night went on."
The series has seen him consistently make good scores at a rapid rate before getting out with the winning post in sight, and he said: "It's about time I was there at the end! It was important that I got an early knock and that one at the Oval (82 from 85 balls) gave me confidence and stood me in good stead for the series."
Australia captain Michael Clarke said of a disappointing series: "We'll take a lot from it. For our young guys who've not had much time in English conditions it was good for them, and for us older guys it was a good reminder of what a good team they are and how we'll have to be at our best (in next year's Ashes)."