Collingwood set to start Newlands Test
England batsman Paul Collingwood looks set to start the third Test against South Africa at Newlands on Sunday, according to captain Andrew Strauss.cricket Updated: Jan 02, 2010 19:38 IST
England batsman Paul Collingwood looks set to start the third Test against South Africa at Newlands on Sunday, according to captain Andrew Strauss.
Collingwood, who did not take the field on the last two days of England's innings win in the second Test in Durban after injuring his left index finger, batted against his side's fast bowlers in the nets on Saturday after taking some sharp chances in slip fielding practice.
"Everything looks fine," said Strauss. "He was batting without any real discomfort. We're very hopeful, barring any last minute incidents.
"He's contributed a huge amount in this series and in previous series and he's an experienced player as well so it would have been a shame if he had missed out."
Strauss said the challenge for England, who are one up in a four-match series was to be "ruthless and just as desperate to win as when you're up."
He said England learnt a lesson from their innings defeat against Australia at Headingley last year after they had gone into the match with a chance of clinching the series.
"We started talking about we could finish it this week and let's realise our dreams' instead of just talking about winning the first half hour."
He said the talk in the dressing room had been about "starting from square one" and "keeping our feet on the ground."
"In Test matches you've always got to earn the right to get on top of the opposition and that's what we did well in Durban," he said.
"We forced them to stay in the field for over two days and maybe that's affected their second innings batting. It's important to start a Test match well so the opposition don't get on top of you."
Strauss said there was no reason to be concerned about England's poor record at Newlands, where they have lost three successive Tests against the host nation.
"Generally the players haven't been involved in the previous defeats here. I'm the only player who was involved in the last Newlands Test. The guys have no fear of playing at Newlands."
Instead of worrying about their past record, England were looking forward to playing at Newlands, where 84 000 tickets have been sold in advance, including many to travelling England supporters.
"A Newlands Test match is one of the great occasions," Strauss said. "It's usually a result wicket so there are a lot of reasons to be switched on and ready."