Cook proud to have bounced back with magnificent Melbourne double-ton
Alastair Cook openly acknowledged how a prolonged run of poor form had affected him, after leading England into a superb position in the fourth Ashes Test with a historic double-hundred.
Cook progressed from 104 to 244 not out, the highest score by a visiting batsman at the MCG, as the tourists reached 491-9 on Thursday in reply to Australia's 327 all out.
Joe Root's side now look well placed to push for victory with two days remaining, as they seek to restore pride having lost the first three Tests and the Ashes urn.
In an interview with BT Sport, Cook was asked by Michael Vaughan how he had managed to dig deep after a run of 10 innings without a fifty had led many to question his future at the highest level.
"I don't think you do clear your head, because those doubts are always there. I can't just say I put it to the back of my mind - they are there and they've been beating me up for four or five weeks because I haven't been playing very well," the 33-year-old responded.
"You've just got to keep believing. There is some inner confidence in me that I've done it before and I can do it again, while I'm still hungry to do it again.
"Last night [after day two], it was [a feeling of] relief and quite emotional. Today I was quite proud that I came back, got in again and dug deep to get a big one.
"When you've been in the form I've been in and you get the chance to get in on a flat wicket, you're extra hungry to make it a big one. And I suppose, as Goochy [Cook's mentor, Graham Gooch] would say, it is a daddy hundred."
Cook, who has now made five Test double-hundreds, added: "I think last night, it ranked right up there, just because of the way I felt going into the game, kind of had the feeling of the last-chance saloon, really.
"When you're in those positions, to be able to say you dug yourself out of them, you can be quite proud of that.
"My batting has quite a lot of moving parts to it and all tour I've been struggling to get that rhythm of batting, if I'm brutally honest. I was actually a bit embarrassed by my form, but at least today I've gone on and got a big one."
Cook responded with typical modesty when asked to reflect on the fact he has now passed Brian Lara to move up to sixth in Test cricket's all-time run-scoring list.
"I feel a bit sorry for him," joked the opener, before adding: "That's quite special, isn't it. I can go to bed tonight and be quite proud of those stats."