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February 3, 2011
England's injury crisis deepened as the team arrived in Perth ahead of the seventh and final ODI against Australia, as Paul Collingwood was officially ruled out of the match following the back spasm that prevented him from bowling during Wednesday's two-wicket defeat at the SCG. He will return to the UK immediately, but is expected to be fit for the start of the World Cup, with the team setting off for Bangladesh on February 12.
"He had a back spasm so he couldn't walk very well and he certainly couldn't bowl," Strauss said in the aftermath of the Sydney defeat. "At the moment we are a bit short on bowlers full stop."
Collingwood is the fifth member of England's one-day squad to finish the series back in England, with Tim Bresnan (calf) and Graeme Swann (back) already in the country, and Ajmal Shahzad (hamstring) and Chris Tremlett (side) currently flying back from Sydney.
Stuart Broad, who tore his abdominal muscle during the second Ashes Test in December, is back with the squad but is unlikely to be passed fit for the Perth ODI, which means Durham's Liam Plunkett, a recent arrival from the Lions tour in the Caribbean, is a near-certain starter for a match in which Australia already hold a 5-1 series lead.
Plunkett, who was a part of the England team that unexpectedly won the CB Series on their last tour of Australia in 2006-07, arrived in Perth on Tuesday following a 40-hour journey, but believed he would be fresh and ready for action if called upon for the match.
"I went from St Kitts to Miami and then Miami to Heathrow. I was there for 10 hours so I had a sleep there and then went to Singapore and here," Plunkett said. "But I've been here two nights now. I've had plenty of time to rest and slept on the plane thanks to some sleeping tablets."
With 28 ODIs to his name already, Plunkett offers greater experience than either of England's recent debutants Steven Finn and Chris Woakes, who along with Jimmy Anderson are the only three fit seamers still remaining with the squad. However, his most recent outing was a one-off fixture against Bangladesh in Chittagong back in March, having not been selected since the visit of West Indies in 2007.
"I was [surprised to get selected]." he admitted. "But I've got the call-up, I'm here and hopefully I will play. I've got fresh legs. I feel strong and confident in my bowling so hopefully it goes well and we'll see what happens from there."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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