England captain Alastair Cook insisted his side had “further to go” after a win over Pakistan at Edgbaston gave them a chance to top the world Test rankings before the end of their home season.
The hosts had it all to do after conceding a first-innings lead of 103 runs at Midlands county Warwickshire’s headquarters. However, showing admirable resilience, England recovered to win the third Test by 141 runs on Sunday to go 2-1 up with one to play ahead of the series finale at The Oval starting on Thursday.
Victory in south London will see England back on top of the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings for the first time since 2012 provided India do not win the last two Tests of their ongoing series in the West Indies.
Not that Cook was getting carried away by the prospect. “If we do win at The Oval, I wouldn’t say we are anywhere near our potential,” he said.
“If we become number one there, that’s fantastic -- but it will be a bit of an irrelevance, because this side has still got much further to go. I thought that might come in a couple of years’ time,” he added.
England were behind in the game until Cook (66) and Alex Hales (54) wiped out the first-innings deficit with their first century stand as a Test-match opening pair. Joe Root (62) helped consolidate England’s recovery before Jonny Bairstow (83) and Moeen Ali (86 not out) took the match away from Pakistan in Saturday’s last session.