Cook shrugs off bad light decision
Alastair Cook took a pragmatic view on the controversial end to the the final Test against Australia, deciding instead to focus on the joy of becoming an Ashes-winning captain.
Cook, brandishing a replica of the famous urn and beaming from ear to ear, played a conservative hand when invited to comment on the umpires' decision to abandon the game for bad light with England needing 21 to win and just four overs remaining.
A home win would have capped a remarkable day of cricket, handed England a first ever 4-0 win over Australia on home turf and made Michael Clarke only the third captain in history to declare twice in a game and lose.
The Kia Oval crowd were audibly furious and there was a sense that a moment of true sporting drama had fallen foul of the rulebook, but there was no denying the poor visibility, nor the fact that the officials were effectively duty bound to make the call.
Cook saw both sides.
"Of course you understand the frustration, but you can also understand the other side...you understand the rules and regs," said Cook.
"Unfortunately the officials sometimes have to take emotion out of the game and do their job of being consistently fair to both sides.
"Of course it is disappointing to be sitting here when we felt we could have taken those runs off the last four overs, but I understand the umpires' decision and why it happened.
"If it was the third day no-one would be moaning about it. If the boot was on the other foot we'd probably be asking the same questions (as Australia).
"It's a shame for the amazing crowd we've had here but there are certain guidelines and that's the way cricket has gone."
The dramatic finale, and the disappointingly officious end to proceedings, threatened to overshadow the wonderful achievement of the home side in sealing a 3-0 series win - denying the old enemy a success for the first time in 36 years.
But there was no such concern for Cook, who cut an unequivocally contented figure.
"It is what dreams are made of. It's an incredible feeling," said Cook.
"When you go back to the start of series, a lot of questions were being asked about this England team.
"Would we be able to handle the pressure of being favourites? Would we live up to that expectation?
"To deliver under that means we can have a good beer and enjoy some very special scenes in the dressing room. Our families and friends are there now and those moments are very special.
"Until you go through it as player or a captain you don't quite realise how intense it is, to be honest.
"It has been an intense time but also a very proud time for me.
"We've had some real tough moments as a side but the character we've shown throughout the series is fantastic.
"When runs have needed to be scored they've been scored; when wickets needed to be taken they were taken.
"That's the hallmark of a good side and it comes from a lot of experience and a lot of class."
Ian Bell, who was deservedly handed the man of the series award for his three centuries, 562 runs and 62.44 average, was equally satisfied.
He has now won the Ashes four times, previously in 2005, 2009 and 2010/11, but admitted there was a special tinge to this series having been far and away the best batsman on either side.
"Any time you win the Ashes is right up there, and the away series was always going to be number one but, on an individual note, to have contributed by scoring three hundreds makes it a special one," he said.
"When you score hundreds and you don't win Test matches or a series it means nothing. The victory is the most important thing."