Colly Ton Puts England Top


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

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.
With deliveries occasionally beginning to shoot low, Pietersen struggled for his usual fluency, but took advantage to drive through the gaps whenever the ball was full.
A straight driven four in a Daren Powell over which cost 10 put him on the verge of another 50 but Collingwood pipped him to the landmark when he cut aingle off left-arm spinner Ryan Hinds moments before the interval.
Collingwood, one of those so out of touch in the innings thrashing in Jamaica which put England 1-0 down in the series, celebrated his 77-ball effort by pointing to the dressing room in acknowledgement.
But Pietersen's sedate innings came to its conclusion moments after he had brought up yet another half-century, this one from 130 deliveries.
Having survived one chance on 25 when Edwards failed to grab a jabbed full toss in his follow-through, Pietersen played back to Jerome Taylor with fatal consequences, as an inside-edge crashed into the stumps.
England's innings was in need of restoration just two balls later as Andrew Flintoff succumbed for only getting half-forward to a delivery which kept low, snuck under a defensive prod and cartwheeled off and middle-stumps.
Taylor's latest super burst was stymied this time, however, following his matchwinning five for 11 at Sabina Park in the first Test.
Scoring became secondary as Collingwood and wicketkeeper Prior dug in during an opening hour of the afternoon which reaped just 29 runs.
Having seen the pacemen off, Prior in particular got stuck into the spinners but his adventure got the better of him when he got under a Brendan Nash delivery and skied straight to deep mid-off.
But left-hander Broad accompanied Collingwood to his latest three-figure contribution, which arrived shortly after tea when he was gifted a single off his pads off Hinds.
Broad, whose clean-hitting included a straight six off fast bowler Daren Powell's slower ball, perished later in the same over via a wild drive outside off-stump.
But England ploughed on towards 600 with Graeme Swann hitting an unbeaten 22 and Collingwood reverse-sweeping giant spinner Sulieman Benn for his 14th and final boundary, before his dismissal signalled the declaration.
Having survived one chance at deep midwicket off Benn – when Edwards threw the ball back into play as he careered over the rope – another slog to the on-side resulted in another success for Hinds.