Alastair Cook is ready for the good times to roll after watching England score a commanding victory over South Africa in the Boxing Day Test.
The tourists were not flattered by the 241-run winning margin in Durban, steam-rollering the world’s number one side with six wickets in 24 overs to wrap things up before lunch of day five.
It has been a mixed year for Cook’s side, including the sacking of Peter Moores, Ashes success under his replacement Trevor Bayliss and disappointing away series against the West Indies and Pakistan.
But while the Proteas look to be a side at the end of a dominant cycle, there is a vibrancy about this England side that suggests a bright future.
They had not won in their previous four Tests before Kingsmead, but Cook was optimistic ahead of a brief two-day turnaround before the second Test in Cape Town.
“Over the last eight months or so the guys have taken big strides forward as a side. Potentially, this team can do some really good things,” he said.
“This a good side to captain; we feel balanced, the guys feel particularly happy and really hungry to push on.
“You see the guys training - from one to 17 in this squad - and think ‘there’s good times ahead’
“There are going to be some tough times, there always are, but it was a pleasing five days.”
Cook has seen too many turns of the wheel in his own career to be blinded by one result, particularly with the South African fortress of Newlands up next.
But he is convinced the current squad are not in danger of over-confidence.
“The danger is the word complacency, but that won’t happen in our squad - that’s not where we’re at as a side,” he said.
“There is a big opportunity that presents itself when you play like that but it can turn very quickly.
“Let’s not get too carried away but it would be great if we can continue to push pressure on South Africa in the next game.
“This team are very talented to start with and hungry to do well. Playing for England means so much to the guys.”
Cook drew particular attention to the efforts of returning batsman Nick Compton.
“I thought the way Nick came back after a few years out really helped - he was a rock for us in that first innings,” said Cook.