When Collingwood bettered Sir Viv
Never in his wildest dreams would Paul Collingwood proclaim himself as one of the great allrounders in world cricket - for all that he scored that memorable Ashes double-century at Adelaide in December, in his own unassuming mind he is still barely worthy of a place in England's Test team.
At one-day level, however, it is a different story. With his mesmeric fielding at cover point, his adaptable middle-order batting prowess and his handy ability to swing the white ball at a decent clip, Collingwood is one of a handful of England cricketers who can really cut the mustard in the limited-overs game. And at Trent Bridge in 2005, he carved an improbable niche in cricket's history, with the finest allround performance in shortened form of the game.
Okay, so England's opponents were the also-rans of Bangladesh ... but don't be fooled. Only three days earlier at Cardiff, the tournament's rank outsiders had pulled off the shock of the century by derailing the World Champions, Australia, in their opening fixture of the NatWest Series. Complacency was a condition that England desperately needed to guard against.
Collingwood produced a performance in two parts. England, still buoyant after their tight victory over Australia at Bristol, launched their innings at a ferocious clip, with Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss matching each other blow for blow in an opening stand of 141. But then England shed three wickets in the space of eight overs to lurch to 179 for 3 - still a dominant position, but one that offered Bangladesh a glimmer of a chaseable total. They had successfully hunted down 250 to beat the Aussies.
As soon as his innings got underway, however, Collingwood allayed any fears of a collapse. He produced a scampering, chivvying innings of 112 from 86 balls. Quick singles were his bread-and-butter as he rotated the strike with a now-rampant Strauss, but he also clobbered five sixes and ten fours for good measure. By the latter stages of the performance, the big question was whether England could become the first side to top 400. In the event they failed by nine runs, but no-one was counting the small change after entertainment of such quality.
It left Bangladesh facing a long struggle for respectability, and the magnitude of their task was demonstrated when the lanky seamer, Chris Tremlett, grabbed two wickets in two balls. He was then denied a hat-trick when the next delivery, to Mohammad Ashraful, bounced on the leg bail and away to safety, but Ashraful quickly made his moment count. Sensing the fates were on his side, he launched his diminutive frame into England's astonished bowlers and hurtled to a brilliant 94 from just 52 balls.
It was time for Collingwood to make his second intercession of the match. He bowled Ashraful with a slower ball in his third over and followed up with the wickets of Habibul Bashar and Aftab Ahmed from consecutive deliveries. Javed Omar chopped onto his stumps for a dogged 59 and Khaled Mashud was well caught down the leg-side by Geraint Jones, before Collingwood capped his day by bowling Mohammad Rafique with the final ball of his spell.
Bangladesh were bowled out for a spirited 223, and Collingwood finished his ten-over spell with 6 for 31, the best figures by an England bowler in one-day history, and the best allround performance by anyone, ever. The previous holder of that accolade was none other than the great Sir Vivian Richards, at Dunedin in 1986-87.
What he said at the time
"The boys told me about beating Viv Richards' record when I got back to the dressing-room. That is good company to be in. They have been ribbing me. Maybe I can do it again someday."
How the media reported it
"He played the sort of innings which demonstrated a versatility that hitherto had seemed out of character. Collingwood is England's belt and braces, the finisher who nudges and works the ball, scurrying his singles, and turning them into twos. But, given licence, he swung lustily yesterday, hitting five sixes to go with 10 fours, his second fifty runs coming in just 24 deliveries." Mike Selvey in The Guardian
England's performances in the 2005 NatWest Series were a world removed from the feckless, farcical displays they have since come up with in one-day cricket. It is an indication of the tunnel-vision that descended over the squad in that headiest of summers. Collingwood was destined to play only a bit-part in that Ashes campaign, but efforts such as this played a huge part in maintaining the summer-long momentum that carried his team to glory.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo