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Australia A v England XI, Hobart, 4th day

'We have the belief' - Collingwood

Brydon Coverdale at Bellerive Oval

November 20, 2010

Comments: 26 | Text size: A | A

It's well documented that England lost all five Tests last time they visited Australia, but Paul Collingwood knows only too well that they also failed to win a tour game. This time they've started with a win against Western Australia, a draw against South Australia where several men found form, and a comprehensive ten-wicket victory over Australia A. Their trip could hardly have had a better start.

At 34, Collingwood is the oldest man in the England squad, and he's desperate to add an away Ashes triumph to the two home series wins in which he has played a part. He's also in promising touch personally, having compiled a solid 89 at Bellerive Oval this week to follow the 94 he posted at Adelaide Oval, and he is confident England can carry their form in to next week's Gabba Test.

"We've got ourselves in the best possible position and prepared in the best possible way," Collingwood said. "Winning two games gives us confidence and belief but there have been some huge individual performances as well. The guys are very confident going into Thursday, that's when the real stuff begins. They are excited. It was an exceptional performance in this match especially.

"I've spent a few tours out here starting in 2002-03 and I know how difficult it is to beat the opposition, even in these [warm-up] games. We've had our mini-challenge and come through that with flying colours. That's not an easy thing to do."

Adding to the challenge in Brisbane, England must rewrite history by becoming the first team to beat Australia in a Gabba Test since the all-conquering West Indies in 1988. But they need to break an even older record to leave the country happy - England haven't won the Ashes away since 1986-87 - and after breaking a 75-year Ashes drought at Lord's a year ago, they know anything is possible.

"The team see Brisbane as a really big challenge and whenever we've come across these challenges like not having won an Ashes match at Lord's for 70-odd years, the guys really like facing things like that," Collingwood said. "Brisbane is one of them. It is difficult for teams to win there, Australia have been incredibly strong there, but that just makes it more exciting for us and we'd love to make history.

"We've got a good mix of guys who have experienced Ashes in the past and there aren't mental scars, there is motivation to do well this time round. We've got guys coming in nice and fresh and who are excited about this kind of tour and what is ahead of them."

Australia also have at least one man coming in nice and fresh - the spinner Xavier Doherty, who is almost certain to make his Test debut at the Gabba. Doherty will be especially keen to challenge Kevin Pietersen, who has been out 17 times to left-arm orthodox bowlers since the start of 2008, compared to four times against right-arm spinners, but Collingwood is confident it won't be an issue.

"I don't think he'll be overly worried about facing left-arm spinners," he said. "We'll have a look at footage from the one-day games where [Doherty] bowled against Sri Lanka. Kevin has done it time and again and he can play left-arm spin very well on his day. It is not a problem for us. "

The form of Pietersen, who has made only one half-century on the trip, is one of the few minor concerns for an otherwise buoyant England. They know this is their best chance in 24 years to claim the Ashes in Australia, which last occurred when Collingwood was a 10-year-old Durham boy who had little interest in the fate of the England cricket team.

"We've been waiting a long time," he said. "To get the opportunity as a player is a great feeling. We have the belief and we are playing some very good cricket. There's genuine belief in the side that we can do it."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Hammond on (November 22, 2010, 10:52 GMT)

@Bigbanger666- can only see England choking on all the champagne once they trounce this bog-average Aussie side with a muppet for a captain.

Posted by Bigbanger666 on (November 22, 2010, 8:46 GMT)

@Hammond and co. One word which sums up England playing in Aus no matter how your team was travelling : Chokers

Posted by Hammond on (November 22, 2010, 6:26 GMT)

Warnerbasher a total of 21 test cricketers for Australia were foreign born. When you add the countless football, rugby, boxing, and Olympics Australian representatives that were/are born outside Australia then you just appear like another mindless Aussie hypocrite. Mind you I applaud the fact that you are rehearsing your excuses because boy are you going to need every one when England casually reclaims the urn.

Posted by Marcio on (November 21, 2010, 13:26 GMT)

England have had an almost perfect start, while Australia have had the most perfectly pathetic start imaginable (I believe CA and the selectors should be fired - the mismanagement of the team in the last 2 years - losing 4 series that should have been won or drawn easily - and just insane scheduling of games). Still, poor form and poor luck don't last forever. England have not been placed under any pressure so far. In this Aust A game they had the fortune to bowl first on a very green 'English' wicket, then the pitch dried out to become a good batting surface. I wonder if the position had been reversed how well Eng. would have responded? England have played well on tour, but they are just warm up games. Some of the English press have become delusional. I have read articles by Duncan Fletcher and Ian Botham which are Fantasyland stuff. Eng. can't lose? LOL! Nuts! At least Aust have made a step in the right direction by beginning to get tough on players who are not performing.

Posted by davidmoz on (November 21, 2010, 10:33 GMT)

Aussies going on about non-English born players playing for England is a bit much. As had been said, your Australia A player Usman Khawaja was born in Pakistan, Kepler Wessels was a Saffie and I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned Andrew Symonds yet- born in ENGLAND! Even Clarrie Grimmett was a Kiwi...

Posted by warnerbasher on (November 21, 2010, 5:03 GMT)

I can see both teams proudly lining up for the anthems just before play on Thursday with the opposing captains standling proudly with hands to their hearts with firstly Punter leading his team with a rousing rendition of Advance Australia Fair then the other captain leading his team with a stirring rendition of Nkosi sikelel' iAfrica.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (November 20, 2010, 21:30 GMT)

Conrgatulations to the England players and supporters after this comprehensive 'thrashing' of Austrlia A. It's not the main event yet and we shouldn't get carried away - BUT clearly many Aussie supporters are worried! It's a shame that the sae old excuses keep coming from the Antipedes and frankly I'm gettiing tired of Aussie sour grapes! OK ... WA, SA and the A team were rubbish... but all any side can do is beat the oppostion they're confronted by? Ok- we have a few South Africans - but have you Aussies ever wondered WHY these guys want to come play for England? So PLEASE stop this Aussie whinging and give credit where it's due? Cricket is just a sport and sportsmanship is about accepting defeat with grace and dignity. If everybody performs in the England team it should be a resounding Ashes win for England.... but if not we might lose! I think the guys will show how poor this current Aussie side is, but win or lose Andrew Strauss can be relied on to show class! COME ON ENGLAND!

Posted by   on (November 20, 2010, 21:01 GMT)

This whole SA 'B' team thing makes me laugh. England is, and has been for a considerable amount of time, a multi-national country. We don't go around the world looking to poach players; they come here because they want to lead a better life. Is this our fault, I think not?

The prejudices shown by certain people are solely a sign of jealousy; they come here, not there. If we want to look at truly 'authentic' sides, then the 'Aussies' haven't fielded one since… 1868 when the only true Australian side toured. Don't see many of them in the side now-a-days though…

Warnerbasher, the only influx of passports you need worry about is the European ones which make up the history of your team. But then, Aussies do have a short memory…

Posted by   on (November 20, 2010, 20:59 GMT)

This whole SA 'B' team thing makes me laugh. England is, and has been for a considerable amount of time, a multi-national country. We don't go around the world looking to poach players; they come here because they want to lead a better life. Is this our fault, I think not?

The prejudices shown by certain people are solely a sign of jealousy; they come here, not there. If we want to look at truly 'authentic' sides, then the 'Aussies' haven't fielded one since… 1868 when the only true Australian side toured. Don't see many of them in the side now-a-days though…

Warnerbasher, the only influx of passports you need worry about is the European ones which make up the history of your team. But then, Aussies do have a short memory…

Posted by warnerbasher on (November 20, 2010, 19:52 GMT)

I hear customs in Brisbane are expecting an influx of 1000 South African passports otherwise known as the Barmy Army

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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