Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Collingwood turns screw on Windies

Paul Collingwood hit an eighth Test hundred to set up England's series-levelling bid at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

Collingwood's latest gritty effort at the top level meant the tourists posted 566 for nine declared, a total sizeable enough to pressurise West Indies despite the good batting surface presented before them in this hastily-arranged match.

It was captain Andrew Strauss' 169 on day one which put England on course for their first score in excess of 400 in a first innings of a Test abroad since the Adelaide Test of the 2006-07 Ashes.

But it was Collingwood's tenacity which took them into such a dominant position by the end of the second day — significant stands with Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior and Stuart Broad highlighting England's batting depth.

Durham colleague Steve Harmison then celebrated England's strengthened position when Chris Gayle's counter-attack culminated in a loose drive to cover.

Having been hooked for six and pulled for four earlier in the over, his first, Harmison's fuller delivery resulted in a smeared drive well held by James Anderson above his head.

It was the solitary success for Strauss' team in the 13 overs possible before the close as West Indies progressed to 55 for one.

It was nightwatchman Anderson's departure in just the second over of the morning, after he nicked behind off Fidel Edwards, which brought Collingwood to the crease.

And he could easily have been out first ball when, forced onto the back, he looped a shot over the head of gully.

Collingwood reached 50 in the final over before lunch, however, after surviving a spell of increased hostility from the West Indies attack, and Edwards in particular.

With signs of variable bounce more prevalent due to the mid-pitch groove created by the football pitch's centre circle markings, England profited from playing their shots.

Collingwood dominated the scoring and particularly the boundary count as he cut and pulled impressively in the face of a more concentrated assault from the West Indian pacemen.

There was also a confident leg before appeal from Taylor early in his innings but umpire Daryl Harper correctly adjudged the ball to have struck pad outside the line of off-stump.

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