England's Alastair Cook bats during the third day of the third test against India at the Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham, central England on August 12, 2011.
©AFP - Glyn Kirk
BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom (AFP) - Alastair Cook said England were at the start of a journey, rather than the end of it, after becoming the world's number one Test side.
England deposed India at the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test Championship table with an utterly commanding innings and 242-run third Test win over Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men at Edgbaston on Saturday.
Victory, achieved with more than a day to spare, gave England an unbeatable 3-0 lead in this four-match series and saw then climb to the top of the ICC standings for the first time since the system's creation eight years ago.
This latest success was built upon Cook's career-best 294, his 19th in all Tests and third in six matches this season.
The 26-year-old Essex opener is now just three shy of England's all-time record Test century total and well on the way to becoming one of his country's greatest batsmen.
Yet a year ago he was close to being dropped before reviving his career with a hundred against Pakistan at The Oval, the springboard for a triumphant tour of Australia where he scored 766 runs, including three centuries, as England won the Ashes 3-1.
England's Andrew Strauss (C) congratulates England's James Anderson (2nd R) taking the wicket of India's Virender Sehwag for 0 runs during the third day of the third test against India at the Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham, central England, on August 12, 2011.
©AFP - Glyn Kirk
And such is Cook's confidence in both his own and England's quest for self-improvement, he is adamant there will be complacency when they take the field for the fourth Test against India at The Oval starting on Thursday.
"I think we're on the way to doing something special," said Cook.
"But I think we're still at the start of a journey, rather than the end of it. We will enjoy tonight (Saturday), and what we've achieved, but then come back in the next couple of days desperate to start again. That's where this side is at."
India's much-vaunted batting line-up has failed to make the benchmark score of 300 in six innings so far this series, and indeed have yet to manage the 294 Cook compiled during England's mammoth 710 for seven declared at Edgbaston.
"It's just a lot of credit to the way our bowlers have bowled -- the way we can build pressure continuously at both ends," Cook said.
"All four bowlers, five if you include (the injured) Chris Tremlett, offer something different -- and continue to prey on people's weaknesses.
"It's a pleasure to be the ball-shiner for them, because you know it gets rewards," Cook explained.
"Our job as a batting unit is to try to give them some time off, so they can be as fresh as they can."
England's Matt Prior (R) bats watched by India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni (L) during the third day of the third test against India at the Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham, central England on August 12, 2011.
©AFP - Glyn Kirk
After the India campaign, England face away Test series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka before taking on the West Indies and South Africa at home in 2012.
"Clearly we haven't reached the end of the road here, that's not how international cricket works," said England captain Andrew Strauss.
"You've got to keep improving, keep challenging yourself and aim to win every series you play.
"There are going to be stern tests for us in the future and we know that, away from home in particular but I think we're up for that challenge."
Kevin Pietersen, Strauss's predecessor as England skipper, insisted no stone would be left unturned in the bid to stay top of the Test rankings.
"We've got to enjoy ourselves but we've got to go hunting in the winter," said the South Africa-born batsman. "We've got to do everything to keep ourselves there.
"What we've got is very special. There's no way we're going to rest on our laurels.
"We want to go out and hammer India again. We want to win this series 4-0."
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