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Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Saturday, 13 December 2008

Collingwood eyes positive outcome

Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood
England's fourth-wicket pair added some vital stabilising runs

Paul Collingwood is confident about England's chances in the first Test after helping the tourists to a lead of 247 at 172-3 with two days remaining.

"In Indian conditions the first couple of days go pretty slowly and the last two days can be fast-moving as wickets deteriorate," he told BBC Sport.

"We've got to make sure we get right on top on get a good lead and then put them under pressure when we bowl.

"We need two more good days and hopefully we'll get the right result."

Collingwood shared a crucial unbroken partnership of 129 inside 41 overs with Andrew Strauss, who added an assured 73 to his first-innings century, to lead England to a strong position after three wickets fell within four overs.

It completed a good day for England, who polished off the Indian innings for 241 after breaking a stubborn seventh-wicket stand of 75 between skipper Mahendra Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh - Andrew Flintoff finishing with 3-49.

"They got a little bit of a partnership going but we hung in there and managed to get the last three pretty quickly.

"Freddie's been excellent for us, running in and hitting the batsmen hard and whatever has been in the pitch he has managed to get out of it."

Whatever the outcome of the Test match, it has been a fine effort from England, who were trounced 5-0 in the one-day matches before the terrorist attacks in Mumbai led to the cancellation of the series.

"You've got to keep believing," Collingwood said, when asked about England's powers of resolve.


"It's very easy for people to say 'keep the confidence high' but it's very much a mental side of the game, keep sticking to your plans and working as hard as you can and hopefully things will turn.

"In the one-day series we were beaten by a side that were on top of their game and were hard to beat."

India coach Gary Kirsten admitted England held the advantage with their substantial lead.

"I think we've done everything we set out to do, that's why you have to applaud good cricket," he said.

"England have played good cricket, we've tried everything and I thought MS (Dhoni) captained the side really well.

"We had a team that played better than us on the day, but there's still 180 overs left so we are certainly excited about what we can do in this Test."

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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
13 Dec 08 |  England
India v England day three photos
13 Dec 08 |  England
Swann on song as England prosper
12 Dec 08 |  England
England falter after Strauss ton
11 Dec 08 |  England
The making of Monty
10 Dec 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket

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