|Player:||MJ North, PD Collingwood|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2009|
DateLine: 12th July 2009
England's T20 skipper Paul Collingwood has backed England and said that they would head out of Wales with the Ashes series in balance despite Australian dominance at Cardiff.
The English enter an extended final day of 98 overs on Sunday in Cardiff and have eight wickets remaining. Their intent now can only be of surival since they are still 219 runs short of making the tourists bat again.
Earlier, Hundreds from Marcus North and Brad Haddin made it four centurions in the innings for Australia, a record for the tourists against England. These centuries propelled the total to 674 for six declared, their highest Ashes total for 75 years.
After that there was just enough time to snare two contrasting lbw decisions - Alastair Cook plumb in front and Ravi Bopara a victim of a poor decision, before the forecast rain blew in and terminated play at tea.
"We have three sessions to bat and you have to take responsibility as an individual to see those through and not leave it to anybody else," Collingwood said.
"In the first innings we all got starts and didn't go on and now it is all about putting your hand up and being the man to see the three sessions out.
"The Ashes series is a long series but tomorrow (Sunday) is a very important day for us.
"It's the first Test match and we want to go into the next Test match level still so it's important as a batting side to stand up and to bat through a difficult situation and see the side home, so we can go into the next match level.
"The pitch is very slow and people will have their own approach and their own methods and work out what shots are going to be risky on that pitch.
"We have to play well but we believe we have the players in the shed to see the game through."
England last beat Australia at Lord's in 1934, the venue of the second Test, so retaining balance has extra significance.
What would be worrisome for the English thinktank would be the lack of penetration with the ball and this would mean that they may consider personnel changes for next week's contest.
They may just look to give a chance to outcast fast bowler Steve Harmison who has extended his recent good form with five for 60 against Yorkshire in a County Championship match at Headingley.
"It's difficult to pick up wickets when the ball does nothing for the seamers," collingwood said.
"I know you have to use other methods but when the pitch is so slow it's very difficult.
"I thought there were times when we could have built a bit more pressure on the Australian batsmen, but they always seemed to be able to get through them.
"He (Harmison) is going to be in the mixer, just like all the bowlers.
"But this attack has done well for us in the last few months and I'm sure we'll be sticking with that."
Australian left-hander North is another man who earned recognition through displays in county cricket, having played for Lancashire, Derbyshire, Durham, Gloucestershire and Hampshire.
"Without a doubt, having the experience of county cricket has made sure that coming over here to play Test cricket, there has been no surprises in conditions, no surprises in the weather and no surprises in the facilities of preparing," North said.
"That has helped for me. I have played at Cardiff a few times and I was aware of possible conditions I could be facing."