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We have taken big strides: Alastair Cook on win against South Africa

Skipper Alastair Cook hails England's performance and potential after crushing hosts South Africa by 241 runs

Durban: England captain Alastair Cook hailed the performance and potential of his team after they completed a crushing 241-run win over South Africa on the fifth day of the first Test at Kingsmead yesterday.

England players celebrate their 241-run win over South Africa at Kingsmead, Durban yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
England players celebrate their 241-run win over South Africa at Kingsmead, Durban yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

It took England only 80 minutes to take South Africa's remaining six wickets for the addition of 38 runs. Proteas started the day on 136 for four, with man-of-the-match Moeen Ali (3-47) setting the tone by dismissing batting kingpin AB de Villiers with the third ball of the day.

He followed up with two more wickets and had match figures of seven for 116. Cook said a key factor had been batting solidly in bowler-friendly overhead conditions on the first day after being sent in.

With only a two-day turnaround before the second Test starts on Saturday, Cook said it was important to recover well and to avoid complacency.

"It can turn very quickly. They have world-class players so we can't get too carried away." Despite his fifth-ranked side defeating the current Test number ones, Cook said it was too early to predict a period of ascendancy for England.

But he said: "The guys have taken big strides forward as a team over the last eight months or so. It's a good side to captain, there's a good balance, the guys are happy and they seem really hungry.

"Potentially this team can do some really good things. There's so much talent in this side. But it will take relentless hard work and good results over a long period of time."

South African captain Hashim Amla, meanwhile, admitted that his team's batting had been "most disappointing", especially following a poor performance on a similarly good batting pitch in the final Test in Delhi earlier this month during a losing series in India.

Brief scores
England 303 and 326 (J Bairstow 79, J Root 73; Piedt 5-153) beat SA 214 & 174 (D Elgar 40, De Villiers 37; Finn 4-42, M Ali 3-47) by 241 runs

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