Collingwood ton puts England in command

A century from Paul Collingwood led England to an imposing 566-9 declared on the second day of the third Test against the West Indies in Antigua on Monday, as the tourists made their first Test mauling a distant memory.

Just nine days after being bowled out for 51 at Sabina Park and suffering an innings defeat, England amassed over 10 times that total with five batsmen scoring half centuries or more.

Collingwood was the constant presence throughout a sun-blessed day at the Antigua Recreation Ground, as his 113, his eighth Test century, provided a perfect complement to skipper Andrew Strauss’s 169 on Sunday.

A great day for England ended with the added bonus of the wicket of West Indies captain and batting threat Chris Gayle, who drove Steve Harmison to James Anderson at mid-off to depart on 30.

West Indies ended the day on 55-1—trailing by 511 runs.

“I thought we had another great day,” Collingwood told reporters. “We had to get through a spell this morning where Fidel Edwards bowled fast. We managed to get through it but also scored quite a few runs as well.”

Arriving at the crease after the West Indies removed the nightwatchman, Anderson, Collingwood took the upper hand in a positive partnership with Kevin Pietersen through to lunch.

It is not often that Pietersen is overshadowed by his partner but Collingwood’s aggression was impressive, as was the way he was able to adjust his role, first to provide stability and then later to take the main run-making responsibility again.

Edwards had been threatening with the new ball but the West Indies did not look like making any headway until after lunch when Jerome Taylor picked up two quick wickets.

With the first ball of his spell he bowled Pietersen for 51 with a delivery that kept low, and then Andrew Flintoff went two balls later, Taylor removing his middle and off stump.

Questions answered
Those breakthroughs gave the hosts heart but any questions over England’s character that still remained after the debacle at Sabina Park were answered as Collingwood and Matt Prior put on a nicely paced 62-run partnership.

With England looking to pick up the run rate, Prior skied a simple catch to Shivnarine Chanderpaul, handing West Indies’ Australia-born medium-pacer Brendan Nash his first Test wicket.

Stuart Broad then played some well-timed shots in a lively 44, a partnership that allowed Collingwood to complete his century and take the applause of an overwhelmingly English crowd.

After Broad went, caught behind off Ryan Hinds, Graeme Swann contributed 20 and when Collingwood finally departed, caught at deep midwicket by Fidel Edwards off Hinds, Strauss declared.

That gave England an hour to bowl at West Indies and they gained the precious wicket of Gayle.

The Jamaican had survived an impressive opening spell from Flintoff and Anderson before crashing Steve Harmison for a six and four in the same over, only then to drive the England seamer straight into the arms of Anderson at mid-off.

With such a huge score to chase the West Indies needed more than the 30 Gayle provided them and the pressure is now on Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul to produce big and long innings on Tuesday.—Reuters


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