Terrific day for England, and a really superb innings from Paul Collingwood. Ian Bell’s was a mixed affair; clearly he was intent on upping the scoring rate as wickets fell, but he simply isn’t able to. That’s not to say he isn’t a fine batsman, an elegant strokeplayer and the most technically perfect batsman England has had for a while. He’s just old school; a 1990s stodger in a post-modern world of speed and aggression.
Collingwood’s innings was remarkable. I heard one of the commentators compare him, loosely, to Steve Waugh – and actually, he had a point. There is something of the ungainly, dogmatic determination of Waugh in Collingwood; a refusal to be beaten, and to score runs however they come. He is arguably the most important name on the sheet for the plane to Brisbane for the stability he offers, and he also happens to be the best England fielder since, well, ever. His catch at third slip today was breathtaking.
Good stuff from England, then, although they’ve had their fair share of luck.