Collingwood just perfect - Botham
By Tim Hobbs
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Ian Botham felt Paul Collingwood's display was falutless on the first day of the second Test.
The Durham man was unbeaten on 98 as the tourists closed the day on 266-3 after winning the toss and choosing to bat.
Openers Andrew Strauss (14) and Alistair Cook (27) both went early before Ian Bell (60) and Collingwood put on a partnership of 113 for the third wicket.
Kevin Pietersen (60no) upped the ante in the after tea, but for Botham the day belonged to the man who many thought should not be batting at number four.
"I don't think he made one mistake," he told Sky Sports. "I don't think there was one false shot. He played fantastically well following on from his 96 at the Gabba.
"It was such a gutsy performance. He takes the blows, he wants to be out there in the middle and when you interview him, he says 'I'm very pleased to bat at four'.
"There's no thought that KP should be there, when some - myself included - thought that KP should bat four. But Colly said 'No, I'm happy to bat at four and take my chance'. And he's done well. He's played magnificently."
Collingwood's knock was one of the few bright spots in Brisbane and while some of his colleagues fell to extravagant shots, he stuck doggedly to his task, preferring the steady to the spectacular.
Here, he came to the wicket at 45-2 and stopped the rot setting in again and for Botham, that has been the vital ingredient to his great start to the series.
"He realises the situation, he knows his side are in trouble and he knows the way to get out of it is to fight and dig in and that's exactly what he did," he said.
"When he got the bad balls, as the innings wore in, he latched onto them. He knew the more time he spent out in the middle, the easier it would get.
"I thought it was a great fighting knock, that showed a lot of guts."
Fellow commentator Michael Holding was full of praise for the way Collingwood remained calm with the end of play and his century approaching.
But he was also quick to point out the contribution made by Pietersen. He provided the share of the unbeaten 108-run stand with Collingwood and with his 60 coming off just 95 balls, Holding believes the impetus he provided was crucial.
"Kevin Pietersen lifted the England side with his batting," he said. "He came out and got his runs quickly - and that is exactly what England needed.
"They have certainly won the day, but they did not want to be 210-3 at the end of the day.
"Pietersen's runs got the past 260, almost up to 270, and at three an over and that is just what England wanted."