Collingwood content on return to old haunt

Paul Collingwood pulls during his 94 Getty Images

Paul Collingwood reacquainted himself with the batting-friendly wicket at Adelaide, the venue of his Ashes double-hundred in 2006-07, to anchor England's first innings against South Australia and ease the concerns about his first-class form going into the Brisbane Test in a fortnight's time.

England's overall batting performance wasn't entirely convincing as they stuttered to 4 for 95 after winning the toss, but Collingwood and Ian Bell turned their fortunes around with a 131-run stand for the fifth wicket. Though Collingwood was eventually caught at gully for 94, his disappointment at missing out on a century was tempered by the fact that it was a vast improvement on the 37 runs he had scored in his last five Test innings.

"I knew it was only one innings away. Thankfully it was today," Collingwood told reporters at the close of play. "It would have been nice to go on and get three figures, but I would have taken that at the start of the day. It's been frustrating, because that is our job - we have to go out there and score runs, and it's been a while since I've made a big contribution, certainly in the Test match arena."

Collingwood's contribution to England's last Test at Adelaide was monumental, but futile. He anchored their first innings with a career-best 206, and then looked on in disbelief second-time around as wickets tumbled at the other end, leaving him high and dry on 22 not out from 119 balls. Australia then chased down a target of 168 in 32.5 overs to inflict arguably England's most painful Ashes defeat in recent memory.

For that reason, Collingwood has never been able to look back on his personal performance with much satisfaction, even though he scored his runs against a top-notch Australia attack that included Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

"I've spent a little bit of time out in the middle there, and feel a little bit at home on that wicket, and when you've got good memories that obviously helps with the feelgood factor before you go out," said Collingwood. "When you come up against an attack like that and have a bit of success from a personal point of view, it obviously does give you big confidence.

"But I've always said you want to have those innings in a winning cause, or maybe a draw, but not a loss - so it will never go down as one of my best."

Subconsciously, the memory of that nuggetty second innings may have played a part in Collingwood's tempo this time around. In all he faced 116 balls for his 94, before an uncharacteristically tame poke to gully off Jake Haberfield.

"I was delighted with the way I started the innings today," he said. "I thought I left pretty well when I first went in, and then managed to get a few shots away. I want to go into these Test matches with 100% confidence, so I have to score a few runs in these warm-up games to be able to do that."

At the other end, Bell demonstrated he is in fine touch with a classy 61 that was brought to an end when he was bowled through the gate by Ben Edmondson. Afterwards Collingwood was confident that his team-mate was ready to play a starring role in the Ashes, having hinted at a new-found maturity on last winter's tour of South Africa.

"I think he's developed as a cricketer since the last time he was in Australia," said Collingwood. "He's gone through some situations, especially in South Africa last year, that I would say the old Ian Bell probably wouldn't have got through. He's matured a lot, and I'm sure he's desperate to prove to everybody how good a player he is."