ALASTAIR Cook spoke with a heady mixture of relief and satisfaction after England had won just their second international cricket match this winter.
It was under Cook’s stewardship that England lost 5-0 in their last one-day international series, in India in October.
But at the Zayed Stadium, his career-best 137 was the key contribution to a 130-run trouncing of Pakistan to go 1-0 up with three to play.
Cook underpinned England’s 260, and then unleashed the pace of Steven Finn - his four for 34 was also his ODI best - to see off Pakistan’s first four batsmen.
The outcome was in little doubt thereafter, and England finished the job with 15 overs to spare.The margin of their success, however, was immaterial; the fact they managed to end a sequence of nine defeats in 10, the last three in Tests here against Pakistan, was the key point.
“It’s always good to start off the series well, and to play close to our potential - which I don’t think we’ve done on this tour - is really pleasing,” said Cook. “I thought one to 11 today were outstanding.”
He will not be over-reacting, though, to one oasis of success in the desert to date.
“We all know the fickle world of cricket. In the summer when things were going really well, everyone was on your side,” he said.