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Good Ol' Collingwood Forever!
Collingwood's heroics to the fore (06:08)
February 9, 2007
Australia v England, CB Series 1st final, Melbourne
Good Ol' Collingwood Forever!February 9, 2007
In Melbourne, Collingwood is a famous Aussie Rules club, but the name Paul Collingwood was ringing around the MCG as he guided England to a most unlikely victory. Collingwood has played two magnificent innings in a row - the first, a century at the Gabba to get England into the finals, and now he has followed it up with an even better one.
It was an amazing victory. Australia seemed to be coasting to a really big total - at one stage they were 1 for 170; that was after 30 overs. It looked like a total around the 300 mark with Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden well and truly in control. But, from there on it was all England. Their bowlers did magnificently to bowl Australia out inside 50 overs. They were bowled out for 252. Andrew Flintoff was good. So was Monty Panesar who got them going with the first wicket; he struggled a little bit early on but then he tightened things up in his later overs. That wicket and some tidy overs suddenly lifted England and there was a little fight about the way they played. Flintoff came back in the end, took three wickets and did a terrific job.
That's the best Hayden has played all summer; he has been struggling for form, but today he hit two magnificent cover drives in his first over and was away. In the last 8.3 overs Australia lost 6 for 33 as England really piled on the pressure. Collingwood produced a brilliant catch to get rid off Ponting, then he produced two run outs with direct hits. England made a couple of mistakes - there was a terrific opportunity to run-out Hayden, they didn't take that, and it looked like they would be punished for their mistakes. England showed some fight that was missing right through the summer.
It looked like there was still no chance to win when 3 wickets tumbled early; it was 3 for 15 when Collingwood came out to the middle. He joined Ian Bell and they produced a very sensible partnership. They picked up singles early on; in Collingwood's 120 off 133 balls, he hit 66 singles. That's how they got things going - 1s and 2s. Then they plundered the bowling for a while. Collingwood showed that he's also a smart cricketer by hitting two boundaries down the ground and then a six, that forced Ponting to push the field back, and he (Collingwood) was then able to pick up the singles. Bell and Collingwood retrieved the situation for England with a century partnership, but then Bell was out and that brought Flintoff to the crease. Initially he looked all at sea when he was batting against Brad Hogg, the leg spinner, as he wasn't picking the wrong one. So in a bit of desperation, he belted a six over midwicket and this really seemed to change things. Even as it seemed that this partnership was going to guide England to a victory, suddenly Watson got rid off Flintoff and then it got tight. Jamie Dalrymple was soon run out. Following this wicket Paul Nixon came out to the middle, and his job was to get the singles and that's exactly what he did. Then Collingwood outfoxed Watson - moving across to the off-side he flipped two deliveries through the leg-side field for boundaries. The next over, he crunched an off drive off the bowling of Glenn McGrath, and that really sealed it. From there they just coasted home to victory, and appropriately it was Collingwood who smacked one through the on side to bring up the winning runs. Three victories in a row now, two of them over Australia, and Collingwood has made two great contributions to England's victory.
There's a saying here in Australia during the football season - Good Ol' Collingwood Forever! That's exactly what they'll be saying in the English dressing room tonight.
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