Marcus Trescothick's enforced departure from the Ashes tour of Australia is a bitter-sweet outcome for team-mate Paul Collingwood.
The Durham batsman has been an unexpected beneficiary of opener Trescothick's return home this week citing a recurrence of a stress-related illness, which also forced him home prematurely from England's tour to India last February.
With 76-Test Trescothick recovering at home, Collingwood is expected to play in next week's first Brisbane Test with Alastair Cook likely to be promoted to open the innings with Andrew Strauss, with Ian Bell at No 3 and Collingwood at No 5.
Cook, Bell and Collingwood arrived in Australia vying for two batting spots, but Trescothick's health problems have contrived to open the door for Bell and Collingwood.
Collingwood said the tourists were devastated for Trescothick, and admitted this was not the way he wanted to book himself a start in cricket's most-anticipated series.
But having scored 732 runs at almost 49 and two centuries this year, Collingwood would consider himself unlucky to have missed out.
The 30-year-old has emerged as a resolute Test player after earning his reputation as a one-day specialist.
"It gives you a taste of the challenges, the mental side of the game, everything you do - it's the biggest challenge in your life," Collingwood told reporters here Thursday ahead of Friday's three-day practice match against South Australia.
"That game against Australia last year (at The Oval) with the pressures and the atmosphere, you want to have more, which is why it's been a big kind of drive to get into this side all year.
"Hopefully, I've come on as a player since then, playing 12 months of Test cricket and improving, so you're a bit more confident about your game."
England's remaining selection call will be deciding between left-arm spinners Ashley Giles and Monty Panesar for Brisbane.