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Page last updated at 20:33 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 21:33 UK

Collingwood elated to end bad run

Paul Collingwood
Collingwood had made just 96 first-class runs this summer

Paul Collingwood said his courageous century for England on day three of the third Test left him feeling the "happiest I've felt in some time".

Collingwood has endured a miserable summer with the bat, but he showed great fighting spirit as his 101 not out hauled England back into the match.

"I've felt like I've not been contributing and letting the team down so today was very special," he said.

"It's a day I will never forget because it's been hard in the last few months."

Collingwood's total was more than the rest of his first-class innings this summer put together, and came after he had been dropped from the team for the second Test because of his poor form.

England's defeat at Headingley saw the selectors give Collingwood another chance, but that decision had looked ill-advised after another low score in the first innings.

With the pressure on, and the match seemingly slipping away from his side, Collingwood turned on the style as he made the fastest Test ton of his career and his first since an innings of 128 at Chester-le-Street against West Indies in June 2007.

"Professional sport is a difficult industry and when you haven't scored runs you feel pressure," he said.

"Having scored the number of runs I have so far this year in Test cricket, of course I felt a lot of pressure.

"You try to keep believing. Thankfully it came around today for me."

He will resume on Saturday aiming to extend England's lead of 214 as far as possible.

Collingwood said some words of wisdom from skipper Michael Vaughan - also under pressure after a bad run of scores - had helped settle him on his way to the crease.

"Michael Vaughan said to me 'just go out there and be positive, be the aggressor' and it stood me in good stead," he added.

""The boys have been fantastic. They all know it's been tough for me over the last few months, but the support you get in the dressing-room is superb. A lot of people don't know what it's like.

"Everybody realised how difficult it has been over the past few months and they have said a score has just been around the corner, and today proved that.

"I haven't read the papers for some time but you always tend to find out.

"But [the century] is not to prove the critics wrong, it's to prove to myself that I can score the runs."

see also
South Africa in England in 2008
28 Jul 08 |  Cricket

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