Chris Woakes, the England fast bowler, has admitted the players "have to pinch ourselves" after the dramatic turnaround in their one-day fortunes over the last year. Since crashing out of the 2015 World Cup at the group stage, England have completely revolutionalised their approach to ODIs, culminating in a record-strewn performance at Trent Bridge that saw them set a new mark for the highest total by any team.
England's 444 for 3 was built on 171 from opener Alex Hales - an ODI record for an Englishman - and included Jos Buttler striking a 22-ball fifty, another national best. It was the latest astonishing feat from a team that began the revival against New Zealand last summer, during a series in which they passed 400 for the first time and then recorded their highest successful ODI chase, also at Trent Bridge.
Victory over Pakistan gave England their fourth series win out of six since the World Cup (excluding an abandoned ODI in Ireland) and they are yet to lose a limited-overs match at home this year. Woakes nevertheless suggested England had been short of their best in the first two matches against Pakistan - victories by 44 runs (DLS method) and four wickets - and that the 169-run thumping handed out on Tuesday "wasn't perfect", at least from a bowling perspective.
"It's credit to the way the guys have played, the way it's led from the coach, the captain and all the way through," Woakes said. "We are encouraged to play our natural games and the batsmen have led that. It's only happened since 12 months ago, that series against New Zealand, but we do have to pinch ourselves a little bit because the improvements have been dramatic from where we were. Hopefully that can continue.
"We realise there's still a lot of improvement to make, we aren't the finished article, and I think that showed in the first two games of the series - although we were winning we felt we could improve and we showed that. It still wasn't perfect, probably the perfect performance with the bat, but still things to work on."
There were certainly a few flaws in England's fielding display, with dropped catches by Hales and Buttler preventing an even more emphatic margin of victory. Woakes was the pick of the attack, his 4 for 41 including the final wicket to cap off another special performance. "Just an amazing day, really, to set a world record is phenomenal. It's a really amazing achievement by the team," he said.
Hales' innings was the second time this summer that one of England's openers had threatened the previous individual record, set by Robin Smith in 1993 - Jason Roy fell just short when dismissed for 162 against Sri Lanka at The Oval. With a power-packed line-up to follow them, including the consistently productive Joe Root and the scorer of England's fastest ODI century in Buttler, there was speculation about whether England could go even further, though Woakes suggested that the 500 barrier might remain safe for a while yet.
"Who knows? If the boys keep batting the way they are you can never say never but it would be a really freakish day," he said. "We've seen 400 reached a lot more often but whether 500 can happen, I'm not sure it can to be honest. I hope not as a bowler."
Woakes also became the latest England player to be asked about the tour of Bangladesh, scheduled to depart in a month's time, and while he would not confirm his own preference either way, he said "you have to respect" the briefing given to the team by Reg Dickason, the ECB's head of security.
"It's a tricky one," he said. "I'm going to sound like a bit of a broken record from what the lads have said before, we are trying to concentrate on our cricket for this series. We are having all the discussions with Reg, the security people, [Andrew] Strauss, and I'm sure by the end of the series everyone will have to have made their minds up and I'm in exactly the same boat. You have to respect the security level that Reg has reported back on."