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Collingwood keeps England in command
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter


Scorecard:West Indies v England
Player:PD Collingwood, KP Pietersen, FH Edwards
Event:England in West Indies 2008/09

DateLine: 17th February 2009

 

Paul Collingwood scored the eighth century of his Test career as England cemented their dominance of the second Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground. His efforts, coupled with important cameos all down the order, ensured that the platform laid by Andrew Strauss's opening day 169 was not squandered. England's declaration eventually came on 566 for 9, with 15 overs of the day remaining, in which time Steve Harmison claimed the vital wicket of West Indies' captain, Chris Gayle, to put an emphatic seal on their day.

 

By the close, West Indies were 55 for 1, still trailing by a hefty 511, and the loss of Gayle, five overs before the close, was a huge blow to their prospects. That early strike, coupled with the tentative manner in which Devon Smith and the nightwatchman, Daren Powell, inched through to the close, reinforced the growing impression that the reinstated ARG is, despite all evidence to the contrary on the first day, a result wicket. Collingwood came to the crease in only the second over of the day, and might have been caught off the splice for a first-ball duck as Fidel Edwards roared in during an exemplary six-over spell of proper fast bowling. But Collingwood endured, visibly thriving on the pressure as he outscored Kevin Pietersen in a gripping morning session, before easing into a holding role during a consolidatory afternoon's work. Since being dropped at Headingley against South Africa last summer, Collingwood has scored three hundreds in nine innings, and confirmed his importance as the glue in the middle order.

 

The new ball was just five overs old when play resumed, and Edwards required just five deliveries to dismiss the nightwatchman James Anderson, and had he clung onto a sharp caught-and-bowled chance when Pietersen had made 25, the morning might have panned out very differently. Pietersen went on to make 51 in a fifth-wicket partnership of 94, but he was rarely at his most commanding. He more than any other batsman seemed unsettled by the occasional shooter caused by the football centre circle that runs across a good length, and sure enough, it was the low bounce that eventually did for him, and Jerome Taylor popped up after lunch with two wickets in three balls, including Andrew Flintoff for a second-ball duck. Matt Prior used controlled aggression and the late order comprising of Broad and Graeme Swann played equally forceful knocks, 44 and 20 respectfully to give England the platform to push for a series-levelling win.


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