Sri Lanka v England, 4th ODI, Colombo October 9, 2007

Collingwood focused on task ahead

Cricinfo staff
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Paul Collingwood's shoulder injury won't stop him leading England's quest for a series win © Getty Images
England are one win away from their first one-day series success in the sub-continent for 20 years and another notable inclusion in Paul Collingwood's young captaincy CV. From a limited-overs shambles only a few months ago, the team is developing into a competitive unit.

There have been hiccups along the way - notably the World Twenty20 and their opening-match defeat in this series - but those reversals make the subsequent performances even more impressive although their work in Sri Lanka is far from complete.

"At the moment it feels good to have won the first two games, but if we lose the next two games I'll be absolutely devastated because I know how much hard work and effort we've put into it," said Collingwood. "It would be massive, but the good thing is that the lads are still going really hard at it."

Collingwood, who will play through his shoulder "niggle" which required a precautionary scan, is delighted with the way his team have adapted to the conditions. "It's a different challenge to back home because you don't have to do as much as it's the same English style of playing, but when you come over here you have to learn and adapt quickly.

"That first game was a real eye-opener for us and it's brilliant that everyone went away and said 'we've got well beaten, what can we do about it?' After the first game, when we were beaten fair and square, to adapt so quickly after that and learn the length to bowl and the changes of pace needed was a good effort."

England's victories have come despite the top order not firing in any of the matches. Alastair Cook's 46, made in the defeat, is the highest score from the top four and changes haven't been ruled out. Luke Wright would be an option, although he went through a slump in the Twenty20, but the side has looked well balanced with Graeme Swann filling an allrounder's role at No. 8.

In terms of interest back home, the tour of Sri Lanka isn't registering very high alongside the Rugby World Cup and European football qualifiers. But that doesn't bother Collingwood one little bit. "I couldn't give a monkey's whether they're watching or not," he said. "For these 15 players here and the management, to win out here would be a massive thing."

England (probable) Alastair Cook, Phil Mustard (wk), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood (capt), Owais Shah, Ravi Bopara, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson