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Pietersen fails to complete rescue operation

Jonathan Agnew | 19:30 UK time, Friday, 1 August 2008

Paul Collingwood gave us all a shining example of what makes him one of the most popular members of the England dressing-room when, in what might have been his last test innings, he produced a superb, fighting hundred to keep England in the hunt.

Rather than hide in his shell as in the first innings, he batted purposefully and positively. Boundaries flowed, and his footwork started to return after England faced the real possibility of losing the match today.

Michael Vaughan produced a fluent failure when he drove a low catch to mid off for 17. He will not be dropped, of that I am certain, not least because there is no one to take over especially now that Kevin Pietersen must surely have ruled himself out of the reckoning today.

Kevin Pietersen swings his bat with fury after he holes out on 94I'm not going to steal Alec Stewart's thunder, but will merely endorse his criticism of Pietersen's irresponsible stroke that brought about his downfall on 94 just when he and Collingwood were leading England out of trouble. Make no mistake about it, Pietersen was going for the glory of reaching his century with a six.

But, unlike Collingwood later in the day, he chose entirely the wrong ball to do it because it was his first sight of Paul Harris from round the wicket, and the length was also wrong.

What made his shot the more galling was that the South Africans saw it coming, and they set the field accordingly with the long on and long off deliberately placed 15 yards from the boundary edge.

All Harris had to do was let the ball go and Pietersen did the rest - down the pitch he came and, trying to loft him for six, holed out to AB de Villiers at mid on. The South Africans have always maintained that the way to get at Pietersen is to prey on his ego, and they did so again today.

Some will say that Collingwood might have fallen in the same way - but he didn't. Others will say that the earlier batsmen who failed to score runs should carry the can for England's predicament, and that Pietersen should be absolved of blame.

That is a valid argument, but if anyone really does hold that view, please watch Pietersen's furious reaction: he knew he had blown it. Would Jacques Kallis or Ricky Ponting have done the same thing? Of course not. When you get in as a batsman at this level, it is your job to stay in, and Geoff Boycott always maintains that to appreciate a true position in a Test match, you add two wickets to the score.

Had Pietersen done that, surely he would merely have picked off the runs, and continued the rescue work that he and Collingwood had so skilfully embarked upon. In fact, with Andrew Flintoff prodding a catch to short leg four balls later that is exactly how the situation developed with England slipping from 219-4 to 221-6, with a nervous Tim Ambrose walking anxiously to the middle.

A terrific fourth and probably final day awaits, with England needing to muster at least another 50 runs realistically to put pressure on South Africa who will be batting to win the series.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Well, that was an unbelievable innings from Colly! When Strauss got his 177 in Napier I thought was something, but this was even more impressive because there was far more pressure. Truly brilliant.

    If we do score enough that we are able to bowl SA out, then Colly is man of the match for sure - and who would have thought yesterday?

  • Comment number 2.

    i take my hat well and truly off to paul collingwood, to be honest he had been on the rough end of quite a lot of bad decisions this series and the one with NZ, and i feel he really deserved this century.

    and aggers as one of the collingwood's biggest critics, i think that you should apologise to him. it just shows the value of having a bit of faith with your players.

    though i still dont agree with the pattinson selection...

  • Comment number 3.

    Superb stuff today, this is what for me differentiates test cricket from the twenty20... Enthralling viewing and twists and turn, terrific stuff...

    One has to say that Colly answered his critics in the only way possible by scoring a terrific ton... We've got a real fighting chance tomorrow... If we can get upto 250 ahead, and maybe even 300... we've got a real opportunity to pull this test out of the bag... The first half hour tomorrow will be massive..

    Come on england!

  • Comment number 4.

    Pleased as I am for Paul Collingwood, the trouble with our batting is that we've got 4 or 5 players who only do it when they have arrived at the last chance saloon. Strauss, Bell, Collingwood, Vaughan are all guilty of this.

    Just as the calls for changes reach a cacophanous crescendo they produce a hundred, but instead of going on from that in the manner of a Ricky Ponting or a Mike Hussey, they go back to failing again. The failures then keep coming until the next time the batsman looks like being dropped.

    It's all so frustrating!

  • Comment number 5.

    What is it with English batsman they get given chance after chance after chance. Then finally when its last chance saloon they pull a hundred out of nowhere. Vaughn, Bell, Strauss and Collingwood all done it in recent series. Then they give themselves another 10 tests.

    I'd still drop him. South African bowlers were serving up some real village cricket buffet to get himself in. He's a nice chap, and good to have in the dressing room and all that rather useless stuff. But he's a limited batsmen who can bowl some dibbly dobblers and is a world class fielder (Not this test).

  • Comment number 6.

    good old collingwood, i've stuck with him whilst all you lot called for him to be dropped and my faith was repaid!

    all that's left to say is i told you so!

    colly's a great batsmen and as they say form is temporary, class is permanent, good on ya!

    well played KP too, but i see you become yet another english player to get slated by this so called expert. the fact is he scored important runs for us, and a mere six runs he didn't get shouldn't matter that much.

    the england teams fine the way it is, just find a way to get broad in, i dunno, make collingwood the wicketkeeper??

  • Comment number 7.

    Whilst it is frustrating that Pietersen got himself out as he did, the fact is that without his contribution England would have probably lost by now. No doubt his ego contributed to his downfall, but it also made him come in when England were in a dire situation and have the bravado to force us into a position of where we now have at least a fighting chance. I also think Colly benefitted from KP's positivity when batting with him.

  • Comment number 8.

    Bit negative to have KP's mistake as your headline when it could have been about his good innings which helped turn the game around from a tenuous, Collingwood's superb fighting century, or even our efficient bowling this morning. I agree it was a rash shot from KP. But his whole innings was filled with risky shots and it got him to 94. You don't mention the numerous times when such shots got him runs (most notably the two 'switch hits').

    The game is still in the balance. If England can get near the 400 mark and the pitch starts to turn, we might even become favourites.

  • Comment number 9.

    AndyNCCC. You told us so? It's such an easy game, pick any England batsman thats not playing well. Tell the world he's the greatest. Within twenty innings he is bound to get a century some how,and when he does after all his 5,0,12 scores you can tell the world I told you so, aren't you a clever chap. One hundred does not make him a class act. Very average bat indeed.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am pleased for Colly today. He played some lovely strokes and deserved some fortune at last after what has been a horrible summer for him. Nice to see the Saffer lads giving him the handshakes at the end - that was a nice touch. Not sure if they would've done the same thing if it was KP rather than Colly walking off at the end that's for sure!!!

    I'm a bit disappointed about your negative headline about KP. Yes it was frustrating to see him go for the glory shot like he did and we can go on about he's not like Ponting or Kallis but without his 94 we would be in a far worse position. Better targets for criticism regarding poor shot selection would've been Cook, Vaughan and Bell who gave away their wickets far more cheaply.

  • Comment number 11.

    Complete nonsense. A brilliant 94 which is more than most of the top 6 have made in the series and your headline is criticism ... !
    Even worse in an act of supreme hypocrisy laud the way in which Collingwood did exactly the same thing yet choose to brush it of just because he was successful.

    This sort of journalism puts me in mind of Cantona and fishing boats !

    Shameful !

  • Comment number 12.

    Well done Paul Collingwood. I would still have preferred Broad to take his place. I belive that England would be in a better position had he played instead of Collingwood. Last chance salon 100,s are not what England need.
    Vaughan has to go know whatever the result.
    As for Pieterson "this is the way I play" is ok for a new boy or someone batting at 7 not 4.
    Looks like we are going to the same average team for the oval.
    I do not know if I am happy or dissapointed by the success of Colingwood but Vaughan I feel has to go.

  • Comment number 13.

    That was truly a Captain´s innings from Paul Collingwood. Terrific sportsmanship from the South Africans congratualating him as they left the field.England now have a fair chance to give their bowlers hopefully enough runs to dismiss South Africa again

    Poor old Michael Vaughan is still hopelessly out of form, and there has never been a better time to drop him now that one-day Captain Collingwood has reminded everybody that he can still play as well as he did when he got the double century against Ricky Ponting´s best ever Aussie attack.

  • Comment number 14.

    As all have said above brilliant response from Paul Collingwood. He can now cement his place by guiding England to a good lead. Equally Ambrose must support Collingwood for a substantial period in the morning.
    I hope England are taking note of South Africa's behaviour there is not just an arrogance but a distain about this South African team just look at Nel when he dismissed Cook or Harris when he dismissed Pietersen. It seems pretty clear this nastiness is an attempt to disguise a lack of talent and when put under pressure this South African side will wilt. They are gutless, talentless playground bullies and there is only one way to deal with them and that is to concentrate on the basics ignore the hype and watch their true character come to the fore.

  • Comment number 15.

    cheghedges....

    1. why would you pick a bad batsmen to try and make yourself look good when he gets a score? thats just silly. collingwoods just a player i admire and base my own game on. in no way am i justifying his scores in the last games either, and he has proved himself in the past couple of years, i.e. the 200 in aus and some fine centuries as well.

    2. if you have time on you hands go through my previous comments and you will see i also wanted collingwood to be dropped, but for the right reasons, so he could go away and regain form. as for the dry sarcasm, grow up.

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree to get 94 in a situation where England are under real pressure was fantastic. Yes Colly scored more but he would never have been in that position if KP had not helped him early on in his innings, supporting and encouraging him.

    I think Aggers is being a little harsh, yes it would have been nice to have KP still in and ready to go tomorrow, but without his runs we would not even have a sniff of a chance of getting something out of this match.

    Let's face it if we lose, and we're still favourites for that by the way, it won't be because of KP's 94 or Collys 101+ no, but the failures of so called top order batsmen, the chief culprit being the captain.

    If you're going to blame anyone for us losing this match it should be laid at their doors.

    Aggers leave off KP, he's our best batsmen by miles we should support and praise him not knock him for scoring 94!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    if collingwood, ambrose and the remainder of the tail get england up to a lead of 270 or more it will give their bowlers a decent chance because flintoff will be steaming in and if harris can get wickets panesar will be able to

  • Comment number 18.

    Jonathan,

    I think that you're missing the point about the two batsmen on 94. Both premeditated to come down the wicket and loft the spinner for six. Both selected the same shot to play. Therefore, their shot selection was either irresponsible or bold, depending on your point of view. The only difference, albeit the important one, was that Collingwood executed his shot perfectly and Pietersen didn't.

    There is no such thing as risk free batting. Collingwood feasted on lots of short deliveries today. Did he need to try to hit them for four? No, but because he did the emphasis is placed on the poorness of the balls. Did Cook and Bell need to play their pull shots? No, but because they got out suddenly their "shot selection" is pilloried.

    Anybody can do a Boycott and criticise the shot of a batsman which brings about his dismissal. I don't think that we should focus solely on Pietersen, but rather on the less talented members of the team. As with Panesar's fielding, at times there's almost an acceptance of mediocrity from players which is overlooked and a frenzy to castigate our most gifted players.

    Despite his century there is still a case to drop Collingwood, not that the selectors will. For me, Collingwood played just as sketchily at times as he has all summer. Fortunately, he either played and missed or nicked/hit the ball just wide of fielders. Let's hope he carries on scoring runs tomorrow.

  • Comment number 19.

    So you wanted him to go and get form? Did he get the form? He hasn't got any county runs all season.

    I saw him in the twenty20 the other day. Yes different form of the game and all that. The bloke looked like he didn't know which end of the bat to hold.He could have been out at anytime, and he was still hopelessly out of nick in the first innings of this test.

    Nice runs in the end but Ntini had been giving him some nice half track stuff to get him started. Throw enough..... some of it will stick and all that.

  • Comment number 20.

    Well done to Collingwood, though I would now like to see him (and Bell, and Strauss, and Vaughan) go on and perform consistently well to justify his place and not assume that his selection is now guaranteed for another year or so. We need the upper order to perform all the time and not just when they are about to be dropped.

    His and Pietersen's innings have slightly disguised what was another somewhat lacklustre overall effort from the top order, with Cook and Bell getting out to bad shots, Vaughan failing yet again and Strauss apparently going through another run of mediocre scoring.

    As things stand, if England do go on to lose this game I can see a bowler being made the scapegoat yet again, if any of them underperform with the ball in the SA second innings.

  • Comment number 21.

    Firstly as a collingwood fan and admirer from this great century he deserves the respect that sometimes is not shown his way, yes he hasnt scored many runs but it shows how good he is with this magnificent innings, but although his job is not done he has put england in a great postion that earlier looked impossible. well batted Collingwood

    Secondly i dont see why KP is getting some much "stick" for him "getting" himself out. he played marvellously and he put england in a fantastic position and had it not been for him then england would have probably already lost the test and series. If he had pulled that shot off then they would have reacted differntly to what it has, but the fact he didnt, has sparked criticsm for undoublty the best batsmen to play for england for some time, even though he scored 94 which half the batsmen havent scored throughout the whole series combined never mind in one match.

  • Comment number 22.

    errr... no he didnt get form because he hasn't gone yet. i meant at the end of this game anyway, if he hadnt got any runs in this second innings, to go away to durham and play some county championship games.

    the fact is, you need a lot more than luck to get a 100 in test cricket.

  • Comment number 23.

    Funny how the 'experts' at Channel five - and in particular Boycs completely failed to 'get' the 'hundred with a six' scenario either for KP or Colly. I think that Colly 6 to reach his hundred was one of the best moments in Cricket - showed a real sense of humour and a lot of bottle to show KP how it should be done! I'm buying tickets for tomorrow any advice please on best place to sit? Don't want snakes particularly but don't want 'dry zone' either. Thanks in advance. Mark

  • Comment number 24.

    The criticism of KP is ridiculous. What is he supposed to do - get to 30 and then get out 'properly' defending his wicket? Crazy - his 94 has got us back in the game - yes its frustrating that he couldnt go on and make 150 plus but thats the way he plays - just as well he didnt get out playing his 'switch hit' otherwise he would have been murdered in the press!

    He got out trying to hit Harris for 6 and chose the wrong ball - unfortunate but part of the game. Bell and Cook both played stupid shots and didnt receive the same criticism - why? If they had got anywhere near 94 we would be winning this game.

    It has taken the big players Flintoff and KP to get us back in this game - no one else could have done. Well played Colly - balls of steel to hit Harris for 6 to go to 100!

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Aggers get a grip, What has KPdone to you to merit this pathetic diatribe.How England could do with more like him.how can you say he wont captain England after one shot? what about his 2 switch hit fours?did you enjoy them?
    I was quite happy with the England fightback,at least they showed some character.

    But how easy to focus on the negative for a easy attention grabbing headline, grrrrrrr

  • Comment number 27.

    Unbelievable criticism of Pietersen.

    He comes out to bat with defeat almost guaranteed, takes the game to the opposition, revives England's hopes in a brilliant partnership with Collingwood, and gets hammered by Jonathan Agnew et al.

    Pietersen is by far our best batsman and by far is our most entertaining player.

    His ego comes from a desire to want to be the best and to dominate the opposition. It gets him out sometimes. So what.

    If Agnew had his way, no doubt we would have a team full of pretty pea hearted players like Ian Bell.

    No thanks.

  • Comment number 28.

    To chastise KP for turning the game around again with some controlled agression shows lack of understanding of an individual's mental approach to batting and KP's need to dominate. Being a journalist doesn't entitle you to abuse your position by writing garbage. Today may have been a day to celebrate a good day for England and two fantastic rearguard knocks and for once to give us all a break and leave your poison pen to one side

  • Comment number 29.

    pleasesackagnew:

    Shut up.

  • Comment number 30.

    i agree with everyone dissapointed about aggers take on KP's performance, when on top of his game, there is no-one better to watch.

    and when someone scores 94, don't complain!

  • Comment number 31.

    Its good to pick up good spots in a match but lets be honest as a team England are playing rubbish.
    We moan about kolpac players not giving young players a chance yet do not give young English players a chance even when things are dire with some players.
    End central contracts and pick the best team for a series from the guys in form.
    I feel its also time for a new captain Vaughan is just hanging in there

  • Comment number 32.

    Its good to pick up good spots in a match but lets be honest as a team England are playing rubbish.
    We moan about kolpac players not giving young players a chance yet do not give young English players a chance even when things are dire with some players.
    End central contracts and pick the best team for a series from the guys in form.
    I feel its also time for a new captain.

  • Comment number 33.

    Only in this country could somebody be pilloried for scoring NINETY-FOUR runs in a test match!

    KP played a blinder, until he got out on 94, as did Vaughan until he got out on 17.

    Pietersen has helped set up the chance of an England win, as did Collingwood.

    Both deserve great credit for their performances.

    This sort of reporting gives us a justified reputation for being a bunch of whingeing poms.



  • Comment number 34.

    Low Quality Batsman:


    Thanks for your lucid contribution to the debate. Why bother with the 'Batsman' bit?

  • Comment number 35.

    Its all very well and good for ian bell to come in with 250 on the board and play his strokes but he can't make hard runs to save his life. Colly is made of iron. That was the toughest grittiest century I have seen for a long time. Thats why he is there. A good test team needs grafters as well as thoroughbreds. Can you imagine what the aussies would do to Shah (cc average of 38 for gods sake) or Bopara or, lord help us, Robert Key when batting with their backs firmly against the wall?

    Its as true for cricket as it is with any other sport...wholesale changes should only be made when abolutely necessary. I believe that this panic mentality is creeping into all facets of English sport. I was hoping "boo boys" would stay watching football, but directed by the increasingly ridiculous british sports media, one lost test and eveyone looses the plot. Against the second best team in the world England have performed, on the balance of three tests, about par. So lets not panic and bring in a bunch of cricketers we already know aren't good enough

  • Comment number 36.

    What is it with these experts eh? And i hope your reading this Aggers although i doubt, your probably trying to criticise someone else who doesnt deserve it. Over the past couple of weeks ive heard nothing but criticism for Alastair Cook. Comments such as "He gets out in the 60s and 70s almost every time". In case you havent noticed 60 or 70 is a rather good average. If your going to criticise hime, criticise him for the way he has played today cos id rather he got out in the 60s or 70s every single innings than the way Vaughan, Bell, Ambrose or Strauss have played lately. But no on the day Cook actually deserved some criticism you turn on a man who scored 94 of our 297 runs today its ridiculous. KP played a sublime innings. Yes, it was a bad shot but so was Cook's, Bell's and Strauss' and i hear little about them. So give KP credit for a sublime innings and the same to Collingwood (I always thought he would be good enough for his place although i did think he would have to got back to County Cricket first). And tell Strauss to buck his ideas up, tell Cook to not play that shot unless he is 100% confident he can pull it off, Vaughan needs to be dropped as does Bell who doesnt contribute often enough (Bopara and Shah to replace). Drop Ambrose and bring in Mustard. Drop Anderson who is too inconsistent and take your pick out of Harmison, S.Jones and Broad. I'd be inclined to go with Harmison but as a Durham fan i may be a bit biased. There you go rant over :).

  • Comment number 37.

    Agnew resign.

    You do not understand cricket - you do but you are into the system!

    Pietersen was trying to impose himself on a poor test bowler.

    You consider that one shot is a potential Test Match Captain's resignation - rubbish.

    Clearly you have no idea - or want to pose a dramatic story - you are a jornalist after all!

    Your comments are posted natoinaly and are for today's story pages only.

    You have no idea on thought process of a batman - you do surely but today's headline has overruled.

    If Collinwood received a great ball and was out for 0 you would comment "the end of a grafter"

    He gets a century and you comment "resurection".

    You were objective and have lost it ... seriously.

    Fight back Jon as you have the interlect!

    To beat Aussies need inovation ... Vaughan and Moores could do ... but end of Pietersen does not push them to do it!!

  • Comment number 38.

    i think it's easy nowadays to compare the england team to other england teams, such as the footie team, where players are chopped and changed a lot. the difference is, the england cricket team is more like a premier league football team where the same squad is with each other all year round. that's why i think chopping and changing at every chance is wrong, in my opinion it does more harm than good, i know a lot of you will disagree, but i hope you can see where i am coming from here.

  • Comment number 39.

    Agnew is quite right! KP is a prodigious talent but lacks self-discipline as displayed by the SA openers in the first test. Until he learns to control his urge to grab the headlines, seasoned cricketers from the southern hemisphere are ALWAYS going to con him into the "out". As for the rest, the majority lack resolve and grit. What is needed is the same talent but grit of a Trueman, Boycott, Botham, and, yes, Flintoff etc. Personalities who REFUSE to be cowed and beaten. The qualities are abundant in teams from SA, OZ, NZ, and , in other sports, USA, Germany. For some reason we Brits seem to be unable to produce the talent with the resolve and determination. It is VERY frustrating!!

  • Comment number 40.

    I would not say any batsman looked out of form. Just shots they couldn't control, thus judgement and keeping the ball down. Vaughan, Bell, KP all come to mind.

    Freddy should be at 7 as his footwork/ technique is clumsy currently and disconnected.

  • Comment number 41.

    well done KP I say, it's all very well comparing KP to Kallis and Ponting but neither of them ever have or ever will play for England. A more appropriate comparison in my view would be a certain D Gower who could similarly be both brilliant and foolhardy by turns and never really seemed to be truly settled in any innings. However like KP and unlike the rest of our top order DG never failed to take the challenge to the bowlers

  • Comment number 42.

    RealBritcanuck

    i see where you are coming from to a certain extent, but one thing KP is is disciplined, he isn't a player to come out and whack it one, that seems to be a sort of stereotype of him that's been built up. he generally plays a measured innings with the occasional clumsy or big-headed shot.

  • Comment number 43.

    pleasesackagnew

    I would like you to to try for ten minutes to do Jonathan Agnew's job with a tenth of the elegance, perception, good humour and skill that he does.

  • Comment number 44.

    I see where you are coming from Andy very good. The people calling for those on form to always be in the England team don't see the distrubtion and lack of cohesion that would bring.

    It's fine to drop one or two seriously out of form players and bring in one or two who are banging hard on the door. But not huge wholesale changes.

    The problem is, it's so hard to tell who is in test match form from the county averages because the standard is so much lower. Look at Mark Ramprakash averaging a hundred last season and not getting a look in. Whilst Bopara averages 30's this season and is being strongly backed for a place.

    Different stages of their careers and different players but just an illustration.

  • Comment number 45.

    "Cometh the hour, cometh the man". If England win tomorrow (which is still very 50-50), Colly will be remembered as the man who saved England from the brink of defeat and his critics will stay off his back at least for another 6 months. Go Colly!

  • Comment number 46.

    elegance, perception, good homour and skill?

    pfff..

    he's naff

  • Comment number 47.

    superred07

    I totaly agree with you.
    KP may have given his wicket away but he scored a priceless 94. Unlike Bell and Cook who also looked good, and gave there wickets away without significant contributions.



  • Comment number 48.

    aggers, do you ever have anything positive to say when an england player gets us out of the mire like kp did today.
    okay so he didnt reach his ton, but he scored more than the rest of our top five put together.
    you've complained about colly for two full days and now you cant do that, you have to put someone else in the firing line.
    hows about 'well done kp and colly' for rescuing us and good luck for tomorrow.

    maybe aggers should go back to county cricket for a season.....

  • Comment number 49.

    Aggers,

    Yet again, after a thrilling day of test cricket, you choose to focus on the negatives.

    The BBC Sport homepage's own headline is currently, "Super Collingwood Revives England." Yours is, "Pietersen Fails to Complete Rescue Operation."

    Frankly, the contrast speaks for itself - and I would venture that the former sums up the day's play much better than your own doom-and-gloom headline.

    I fail to understand why you chose to devote so much of your close-of-play blog to an anti-Pietersen rant. He played a fantastic innings, ultimately falling short of a 100 but those 94 runs, and the manner in which they were scored, could yet prove the turning point in the match. It's all too easy to criticise Pietersen - and he deserves criticism for an ill-advised shot - but his dismissal was not the main story of the day. Equally, should Collingwood be ticked-off for making a very similar shot selection to get to his own 100?

    What bothers me most about your grumblings is the lack of perspective. To read your piece, you would think that England had needed six to win the match with one wicket in hand.

    You do at least give Collingwood due credit for his innings, although I suspect you still devote more words to talking about Pietersen, but the relish with which you enjoy lambasting England players continues to alarm me.

    I'm not saying you should shy away from giving criticism where it's due. That would of course be poor journalism. But your obsession with hounding England players when they're down is deeply concerning and I feel it distinctly undermines your credibility as a journalist.

    Pot

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't feel that the time is right to sack Vaughan. Someone on here pointed out the other day that Vaughan has a reasonable tally of runs compared to other top 6 batsmen in the last six series or so; second only to KP.
    My gut feeling is that class will win out at the end of the day. I don't see the logic in bringing in Robert Key as captain with a test average of 20 and totally unproven at this level as captain. Let the dust settle first and have faith.
    Great to see Collingwood get runs. He and Ambrose batted well together in the first test at Hamilton-let's hope they can do the same here and rescue England.

  • Comment number 51.

    First of all, well done to Collingwood. He showed more determination that the rest of Englands top order today. But i have to agree with a few other comments. What happens from here....does Collingwood keep his place only to get complacent and lose form again. Vaughan does this alot, gets a ton to save his place then goes the rest of the series with no runs. Collingwood must build from this.

    I also disagree with the critizism of Pieterson. This is the way he plays and the way that got him to 94 in the first place. He still consistently scores more runs than all of our top-order batsmen and his average isnt bad either!! I dont get all the fuss....I would have been more dissapointed if he got out like Ian Bell on just 25 or whatever he got. He plays a high risk game and sometimes this happens!!

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm with lowqualitybatsman (in more ways than one). Aggers has played a major part in keeping TMS at its outstanding best for many years. This form of fantastic, eccentric chat, occasionally interrupted by a bit of cricket, just wouldn't happen anywhere else in the world. Enjoy it don't knock it. It's a special part of Englishness and the English summer. GSD

  • Comment number 53.

    Aggers has not gone made and started completely slated KP. If you read the article he says that KP did not finish the job he started. Which is correct. Oterwise is reaction wouldn't have been so frustrated. He KNEW he got himself out. For the second time in two tests. And aggers is also right to say that there is absolutely no way on gods earth that Ponting would have played that shot with the game balanced like this.

    KP is still young. Few players have been as good as young. And he his learning. No sensible people are calling for him to be dropped. It just needs to be pointed to his attention that he cannot pla so recklessly all the time. Learning to control that aspect of his game will make him an even better player than he is now

  • Comment number 54.

    Who was on TMS that said they thought it would be wonderful if Colly got a 100!

    Collingwood's innings today was a superb response by a beleagured batsmen and a real show of grit, which is his greatest attribute.

    It was a real pity that Pietersen was out when he was, but the shot wasn't as reckless as portrayed, and the rest of his innings was very responsible (He scored slower than Colly).

    So praise to the England players. Bell and Cook got it wrong but the others all played responsibly, and Vaughan was unlucky to hole out with such a good short (though Amla was obviously there for that one).

    The South Africans bowled very poorly and they have shown how their heads go down (and also how they don't like pressure), which England need to apply.

    75-100 more runs would be amazing, but we shouldn't be disappointed with 50.

    I do think the problem is within the England system that doesn't provide the confidence for the players to really perform

  • Comment number 55.

    Unlike most here I'm going to say well done to Collingwood. I thought he needed to go back to county cricket to regain his form but he turned it around magnificently here. He will never be a great player, but he is a really gutsy one - along with Pietersen he is the one in the side who turns it on with the bat at the big moments.

  • Comment number 56.

    Jonathan, I usually enjoy your blogs, but couldn't disagree with you more today.

    Pietersen played a supreme innings today, showing a wonderful balance of caution and calculated aggression.

    And without the confidence/arrogance shown by KP at the other end, Colly would have floundered, just as he did in the 1st innings.

    Without this innings (and many many before), it's certain that England would have been well beaten in this Test. So, to focus your article so exclusively on one - admittedly rash - shot, whilst disregarding the massive impact KP had on the game, is in my opinion extremely poor journalism.

  • Comment number 57.

    "Unlike most here I'm going to say well done to Collingwood"

    eh?

    It's brilliant, but does this really justify the decision to let him play is way back into form in the international arena?

    More luck from the selectors than judgment. Not that I begrudge him a jot in the wake of that fighting innings mind you.

    And it's Foster for Ambrose, not Mustard (prove me wrong please).

  • Comment number 58.

    Reading some of the first 47 comments, Jonathan, you must despair at the outlook of some of the people you're reporting for.

    You and I are from a different generation, when it wasn't "all about me", and showing off like Pietersen's would have been regarded as infantile, not clever.

    As you quite rightly said, the fact that he scored 94 has no bearing at all on a crass, stupid decision, and if England go on to lose this match narrowly, you could quite reasonably say that the most avoidable reason for this defeat was Kevin Pietersen's allowing his ego to overrule his duty of responsibility to his team.

    Collingwood's a different story. He's got only a fraction of Pietersen's talent, yet he squeezes it to the full, and if all England's young cricketers sought to emulate him, rather than Pietersen, we'd have in a few years a team that could punch up to a weight commensurate with a country of 50 million people.

  • Comment number 59.

    So Aggers from your article you seem to be saying that you can play the agressive strokes, as long as you get away with it. How hypocritical is that!

    During the tour of NZ pundits, including yourself were ripping on Pieterson because he was taking ages to get started, getting out too often in the 30's and 40's and taking forever to do it. "He needs to play his natural game" was what ALL the pundits were saying. Well today your saw his natural game and you didn't like it did you? Who cares that had he done what he did in the winter England would likely be bowling again already defending 150ish, why shoul Pieterson get more stick for getting 96 than the openers who are lucky to score that between them in 2 innings!

    Yes Pietson has an ego the size of the field, yes he does crazy shots, and yes he will always get out playing a stoke he did not need to play, as yes he will play his way regardless of the situation. Doing this he will win England many games with the bat, but he will never loose us one becuase there will always be 5 other loosers with him!

    All of this means that I don't think he should be captain, partly because he'd probably score as many as Vaughan if he did and partly because I don't think he has the tempremant, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he is a fantastic batsman.

    England need batsmen who will bat without fear, they have one, we just need at least one more. All the constant griping (mostly from the pundits) is a combination of jealousy and the media's desire to tear people down. The real mark of how good a batsman he is, is that other teams are scared of him, and because of that I hope he never changes.

  • Comment number 60.

    Humble Pie for tea tonight after wednesdays Collingwood comments.
    Hopefully I'll be enjoying 2nd helpings tomorrow.

    We'll done mate.

  • Comment number 61.

    I'm with the above. It's for 1 - 3 to grind down the bowlers so that 4- 6 stroke players can smash wham bang thank you mam.

    This ridiculous chat that 4 - 6 should be expected to take on the grinding role of 1 - 3 if all of 1 -3 have failed is just pish, especially when after a complete collapse of 1 - 3, 4and 6 have put on 200 runs.

    Alex Stewart go and have a cold bath, a few lagers and get a grip of reality.

    94 and you are being panned...er save it for 1 - 3

    Bollix

    CLaG

  • Comment number 62.

    Lets not be too hasty south africa get the new ball straight away tomorrow the forecast is rain if it doesnt rain then it will definately be cloudy so it could be all over in the first half hour-saying that if england can creep up to 270-300 its game on and over to the bowlers lets just hope the guys can bring it home-i think its going to the wire day 5

  • Comment number 63.

    lowqualitybatsman:


    I see now why you just said 'shut up' first time round. Quite right to lead with your best shot.


    grumpyspindoctor:

    JA is a sad pastiche of the 'special part of englishness' that used to be TMS. He manages to combine the grumpy broadcasting ineptitude of Bill Frindall with the sharp insight of Henry Blofeld.

    If you want to listen to a viable alternative, compare Vic Marks.



    Agnew, resign, prat.

  • Comment number 64.

    Can't believe that KP is coming in for so much stick. I know that he got out going for the glory shot, but that is the way he plays. He gets the crowd excited and is one of the reasons why the crowds at test matches in England are so big.
    Everyone loves the way he plays and you've got to accept that he will get out sometimes playing a wreckless shot.
    Still not convinced about Colly, MV was under intense pressure coming into the first test against New Zealand when he scored 104 which saved him. His average is about ten in the five tests since then.

  • Comment number 65.

    yes, the wrong shot at the time of play; but, once again, the guy showed just what a talent and how important to england he is. as somebody else has said, would we rather he hung around for two hours for 15? i think not. and why should one wrong shot be the end of his captaincy ambitions? vaughan, the incumbent, has been woefully short of runs and, once in, got out to to an equally ill-judged shot...

    possibly he misjudged his and the team's position, but if he makes 94 every test, and ruffles a few opposition feathers in the process, i'd be happy. the only reason he gets slated for this kind of thing is due to the ineptness of the rest of the top six for most of the time and thus the enormity of the responsibility resting on his shoulders.

    the problem is with moores...

  • Comment number 66.

    omg aggers ur an awful journalist, just because pietersen played 1 poor shot, hes at fault if england lose and he cant be captain anymore because of it?, use your brain, just because you were a flop for england.

  • Comment number 67.

    If England lose this test and go 2-0 down in the series, then they might as well go 3-0 down at the Oval whilst trying out other players. I thought that Collingwood should have been sent back to Durham to find his form; maybe I was wrong. What a gutsy performance today.
    Pietersen's ego should be given a rest at the Oval to serve as a reminder that this is a team game. His dismissal was shocking. South Africa were running out of ideas when he and Colingwood were batting. Flintoff was caught cold; dealing with slow bowling at the beginning of his innings is one of his weaknesses. Hats off to Collingwood and Ambrose for still keeping England in the series, though I think we need a lead of 300 and the new ball is due first thing.
    I think Harris is underestimated by many.

  • Comment number 68.

    Wow. I like your commentary Aggers - have done for years - never posted here in my life - but I think you really have misjudged this one big time.

    It’s great to see so many cricket fans have come on here and criticised you for your negative, old fashioned and clearly-influence-by-an-Alex-Stewart-rant article attacking KP.

    Aggers read the responses, people just aren’t buying it.

  • Comment number 69.

    pleasesackagnew

    you have an 'off' button presumably? Wish I could find one for you

  • Comment number 70.

    Speedofthepuma, i agree that Foster is indeed a better (wk) however he is in my eyes a poor batsman whereas Mustard is both good with gloves and bat. ALthough i wouldnt complain if Foster or Prior came in for Ambrose, i think it is between those 3. I just think Mustard is the best of the three.

    Dave

  • Comment number 71.

    How typical on the media to jump on the negative as opposed to laying praise at the feet of the batsmen who has constantly been in and around the top 10 Test batsmen table since the start of his career. Yes he has an ego, but what the hell does that matter when you have a Test average of 50+?

    Yes he got himself out when perhaps he could have selected a wiser stroke, but let's not forget he dug England right out of trouble with his innings today - without which England would have been in real danger of another humiliating defeat.

    As it stands now, however, we are in with a shout and should Ambrose and Collingwood occupy the crease and crank up the pressure with more runs tomorrow, then we put ourselves firmly in the driving seat.

    Pietersen's innings could well have been the turning point in this match. To read the article you would think KP threw away his wicket, when England had the slenderest of leads, and with few wickets left in tact.

  • Comment number 72.

    grumpyspindoctor:


    You are good! Wasted on here

  • Comment number 73.

    I love it praise the guy that makes a score every 18months and lay into the guy that does it two or three times every series and plays one rash shot. It's all about making the expectations too high. Do what the rest of the top six do KP and do nothing for a year then unleash for a game and they will love you for it. Bizarre, how very English.

    Excellencefirst you maybe from another generation. An old generation where u ground along at 2runs an over, dull, dull,boring,boring. The worlds moved on and so should you.

    The new generation is young, athletic, exciting,inventive, got the lot. Now come join us in the 21st Century!

  • Comment number 74.

    Wrong place for tis discussion I guess, but Foster is definitely world class with the gloves, I think if you play a 'keeper at 8 why on earth don't you pick the best 'keeper?

  • Comment number 75.

    I dont know why youre saying sack Aggers.
    I agree with him.
    Pieterson had great chance to be there at the end of the day and blew it. The shot he played should not have been played. 1st ball around the wicket and he sloggs.
    England needed him to do his best to stay there not just to the end of the day but to see off the new ball tommorow.
    Its not that he got out but it was a thoughtless shot. The trouble is everyone new it was comming as soon as he started to reverse sweep.
    Play as a team do what the team needs.
    I feel that we do not have a team just a bunch of guys who only look at there own standing.
    If you want to practise 20Twenty fine but not at a crucial part of a test match.

  • Comment number 76.

    pleasesackagnew

    almost. are you going tomorrow? If so I'll buy you a pint

  • Comment number 77.

    grumpyspindoctor


    YES! YES! YES!


    Then you can regale me with your tales of Victorian parsons and district nurses and creaky bicycles and merrie england etc etc?

    I WILL NOT LEAVE THE BAR

  • Comment number 78.

    Do what the team needs undersea level? I don't think KP is the only one gulity of that. Vaughn, Bell, Collingwood, Strauss all do the business when their necks on the line not necessarily when the teams need them.

    I wanna b an top order england bat, I get out for under 20 and get done by a 'Jaffa' a 'Miracle' ball! Nobody could have played it. Get no criticism, then the guy who is touching distance from a century will take the flak. Madness!

  • Comment number 79.

    and colly proves the doubters wrong again.

    for what it is worth, this is why i would take colly over bell every single day of the week; when the pressure was really on, who delivered when it mattered? yet again it wasnt ian bell.

    the selection for this test match was spot on in my opinion apart from the wicket keeper - if your keeper is going to bat 8 then you pick read or foster. there is absolutely no excuse for that.

    six batters and four bowlers the way to go definately, but to do this we need to have a squad of 5/6 seamers who rotate, and be careful of overbowling flintoff.

    well done paul collingwood. but we need another 70 runs or so at least tomorrow to give us a chance

  • Comment number 80.

    a glass of meade is yours

  • Comment number 81.

    Can I remind all we are talking about a team game and leaving aside the poor shots to get out by a number of batsman, for the first time in my life I did not applaud an England batsman back into the pavilion at Edgaston today. The self centred and selfish atitude of Kevin Pieterson was shown in its worst light today and for that reason he should never captain England and will probably be reason why we may loose the game (always the optimist) The opportunity for KP with Collingwood's assistance to bury the South Africans was plain to see for everyone in the ground today, especially as the pitch went flat, the SA bowlers were out on their feet and it just goes to show KP does not have the nous to appreciate how much more he could have achieved.

  • Comment number 82.

    perhaps 'jug' would have been better

  • Comment number 83.

    On the subject of Pietersen's dismissal, I'm with Agnew. I was talking to a few guys in the lab/office at about the same time Pietersen was dismissed. I had thought that Flintoff would either come out and blaze a hundred or get out for not many and then our scoreline would look less pretty. As it turned out, the latter happened and for a little while, my head was in my hands (not for the first time this summer) and wished for Boycott's mother with a stick of rhubarb to turn out for England.

    Make no mistake about it - a 150 for Pietersen was there for the taking. And from an England batting point of view, we really needed Pietersen and Collingwood to push on as far as possible and grind the SA's down. Just before Pietersen fell, Smith didn't know what to do with the field. The bowling wasn't terribly good, but at one stage the batting was imperious but safe. Runs were flowing freely - I think I recall a period of 10 overs when 60+ runs were scored - England were on the ascendancy and South Africa were reeling under the assult. Then Pietersen gifts his wicket in what is possibly the most selfish way possible.

    So, he may play aggressively, he may light up the ground with strokes of such bravado and audacity that they defy belief, but lets not allow his dazzling talent to blind us. First and foremost cricket is a team game. Pietersen didn't see England close in on the finishing line and for a while it looked like our chance had gone. It was only for a very gutsy and determined effort from Ambrose that we were still only 6 down at the end.

    Someone (an Australian) e-mailed into the the live text commentator to say that Pietersen is a match winner and we all forget that. Another said that Pietersen averages 50 in tests and so can't be that bad. But in all honesty, if Pietersen is to be considered a true great of the game, he needs to win matches for England more often than not. Today, he has not done that - not even close. To have won the match for England he needed to get at least another 50 runs and really grind the South African's noses in it.

    So there we go. I accept Pietersen's innings was great, but let us not get too carried away. His arrogance is galling and he didn't even do half the job he is *expected* to do as England's best batsmen. Instead the unenviable task of helping Collingwood get England up to a competative total falls onto the shoulders of Ambrose. Perhaps Pietersen should have considered that before he allowed his ego to get the better of him (again)....

  • Comment number 84.

    Pietersen's only rival in world cricket right now for audacious strokeplay is Virender Sehwag. It's ironic that both are in the press for different reasons tonight. By all accounts, Sehwag played an absolute screamer of an innings against Sri Lanka, pretty much saving his team onehandedly from a paltry total. Today we had Pietersen steadying the ship after some poor strokes elsewhere. The genius that makes KP and Sehwag the players they are is also accompanied by the moments of rash strokeplay that can infuriate (Dhoni has a similar thing going on but isn't up to the standard of these two). If KP or Sehwag tried to reign in the rash shots, they'd lose the spark of individual brilliance. The late great Colin McRae was much in the same vein. Tempering his speed might have won him more rallies and titles but it would have been at the expense of the thrill and excitement of driving on the edge that he lived for.

    KP is never going to be a Ponting or Waugh-type batsman, someone you'd want batting for your life. He is very special, a type of player who is a once in a lifetime player. Don't hound him for getting out. Hound him for executing the shot poorly.

    Collingwood was superb. he showed the sort of mental toughness that I wish all members of the England squad possessed. Flintoff with the ball and Collingwood and KP with the bat have shown that there is a backbone in that dressing room. Now it's up to everyone to back them up and do their part.


  • Comment number 85.

    Why not play a keeper at 6 who can bat there.

    How many number 11 wicketkeepers are there in the world?

  • Comment number 86.

    speedofthepuma, if Mustard was selected i would hope he would be batted at 6 with Bopara at 3 and Shah 7. I would demote Flintoff to 8 or even 9 if you brought back Broad (out of Broad, Harmison and S.Jones) in place of Anderson. Flintoff is best served as a bowler who can hit a ball really hard. Mustard is brilliant with the gloves ad i believe in TM Cricket he coudl have an average of mid-40s. If you brought Foster in, whilst he is a slightly better keeper you would be lucky if he averaged 30. The one thing England have lacked throughout this series is runs, so we need a keeper who can bat. The team has to be:

    1Strauss
    2Cook
    3Bopara
    4Pietersen
    5Collingwood (C)
    6Mustard (Wk)
    7Shah
    8Flintoff
    9Sidebottom
    10Harmison
    11S.Jones

    Yes, i know it is different from last night but i wasnt well and was drunk last night so.

    Dave.

  • Comment number 87.

    Aggers.

    Nonsense.

    For once complete drivel!

  • Comment number 88.

    Lateralis:


    "lets not allow his dazzling talent to blind us"


    Quite! More Bell please! My sunglasses are quite shot through!

  • Comment number 89.

    Aggers, mostly your blogs make some kind of sense but slating KP is just plain short-sighted and so typically English. You only sing when you're winning, you're happy to glorify KP when his shots come off but cast him as the villain when they don't and as for vindicating Collingwood so easily, well that just proves the point. The fact is KP is the only batsman England have who can take the game away from SA or AUS, like Ponting and Kallis can do for them.


    You have to take risks to produce special innings, so you've got to accept that sometimes it is not going to come off. And I totally agree with the sentiment from most that Collingwood probably wouldn't have been able to play as well as he has without Pietersen having been the main focus of SA. It was a potrentially series turning innings and all that you can say is negative.

    Again typical English mentality.

  • Comment number 90.

    and Collingwood proves the doubters wrong again? Again? When did he last do it? 2006 well welcome back to the party! Everyone makes such a big deal of Bell under pressure because it came into vogue a couple of weeks ago.

    Clarke for Australia has never got a century without someone else getting one. Sounds like good company to me. Bell bats at five, England have a long tail so it's hard to be the only guying getting a century that low down.

    He got his 199 coming in when England were under pressure. Collingwood was the only one to get a century this innings but KP was only one blow away from his.

  • Comment number 91.

    Typical, let's knock a bloke for scoring 94! If he'd middled that last shot, or even nearly middled it, you'd all be praising him. For goodness sake give KP a break, he's our best batsman by a country mile. Well done to Colly under extreme pressure. If KP hadn't done the groundwork I truly believe the series would be out of sight by now.

  • Comment number 92.

    Sorry, slip of the tongue there in my last message. I meant to say that I accept Pietersen's innings as greatly entertaining. And a useful one at an important time. Nothing more.

  • Comment number 93.

    I'm not really sure why some on here are critiscising Agnew when he is merely providing some inciteful feedforward. After all, the situation above all else, demanded occupation of the crease:if Collingwood or Ambrose depart early tomorrow, how will KP's rash shot look then?
    Rather than critiscising the way he plays, Agnew was questioning the timing of the shot and the delivery in question given the context of the game. This is the nuts and bolts of test cricket that fascinates us all.
    Bysides, was that Agnew's headline or the editor's?

  • Comment number 94.

    So many are saying cricket is a team game. Yes to an extent. But when you're out there batting, it's you versus opposition quick bowlers, fielders, spinners and the opposition captain. At times it is self-preservation. I feel Pietersen did a great deal to encourage Collingwood to open his shoulders. If KP had gone into his shell, he'd have dumped more pressure on Collie to score. Instead, they worked well together.

    I wonder if those calling for KP's head remember David Gower giving away his wicket in a far cheaper way down under a few years ago at Adelaide. That dismissal contributed to Gower's career being over not that long afterwards to the dismay of many. Would they want Pietersen to go the same way?

  • Comment number 95.

    Michael Vaughan has now scored a whopping 40 runs this series at less than 7.

    Stuart Broad in only 2 matches has scored 4 times as many runs.

    KP and Bell are the only England Players to score more than 300 so far this series and people are suggesting dropping KP for the last test.

    ARE YOU BEING SERIOUS????????????????

    Drop your number 1 run scorer because he played a bad shot -

    We've already dropped the player with the best average because he's only taken 3 wickets. Nobody apart from Panesar and Anderson had taken more wickets.

    Vaughan has to go - but the selectors are too spineless to do that.

    Aggers - love your column and always respect your opinion - however MV having a go at you on Tuesday seems to have got to you. It should have been him and only him that got your negative comments today.

  • Comment number 96.

    To sackjohnagnew

    "Quite! More Bell please! My sunglasses are quite shot through!"

    Actually, even as a big supporter of Bell I've been distinctly unimpressed by him in Tests for quite a while.

    What we perhaps do need though is some of Collingwood's grit. Pietersen may not have a hundred tonight, but Collingwood does and he's still not out. Just think how many more runs Pietersen could have right now if he was still not out.

  • Comment number 97.

    Dave, even I think that's radical, so the selectors will never go for it.

    Harminson....

    I wish I thought he wouldn't bottle it. Jimmy A might feel a bit miffed given his performance this summer. No spinner? Not sure. Shah at 7? Broad has a better average and can bowl a few.

    Cook
    Straus
    Bopara
    Pietersen
    Collingwood (C)
    Shah
    Freddy
    Foster (wk)
    Jimmy A
    S.Jones
    Monty

  • Comment number 98.

    at #90 actually i have been saying it ever since the ashes in 2005. its got nothing to do with this single centurion business, although it is certainly an interesting statistic.

    pietersen was majestic today, but his genius infuriates.

    to compare bells knock with collingwoods is not valid in my opinion as there is a big difference between batting on a flat first innnings wicket and batting from a desperate second innings position trying to save a game .

    for bell's innings, he knew that if he was out his place in the side was severely under threat, and delivered.

    for collingwood, he knew that if he got out the game was over in all likelihood.

    and that is the difference between collingwood and some other members of the england side: he is a team man first and he has got a hell of a backbone.

  • Comment number 99.

    Just come back from lunch to see the wonderful, quite unexpected news!

    I quite agree with the criticism of Pietersen, angrily expressed on TMS by Alec Stewart. Yes he is the best batsman in England and part of the world outside and that is exactly why he should have been more responsible. How was he to know that Collingwood would continue to do such a great job once it became his sole responsibility to put England in with a fighting chance? Once Pietersen and Flintoff had gone, England were looking defeat in the face after a partnership which offered so much hope, only to be thrown away by the selfish desire of our hero to reach his century with a six.

    One could say the same of Collingwood maybe, but he brought it off. I am not Collingwood's greatest fan and did not think he should have been selected again but chapeau!. He was under just as much pressure as KP if not more. Sincere congratulations to ginger, who is playing the innings of his life. This should guarantee him a season ticket for the rest of the year and maybe a few more games, especially if he sees us through to lunchtime tomorrow. To me his innings has been much more important than KP's. Collingwood was fighting not only for his test cricketing future, which seemed to be at an end, but foir his country and he has done us proud.

    I would just not like to think that the incompetent bunch of people that we call selectors should take any credit for what he has done. It was a real gamble and we should not be paying them for playing in the casino.

    Congratulations, Collingwood: keep it up!



  • Comment number 100.

    KP is a great player, but yet again he holed out when England looked in control. England would probably be in a great position had he played with a bit more sense when approaching the hundred. The worst thing is that he threw it away, rather than getting a great ball from the South Africans. Well done to Collingwood. Let's hope he can stay there and England get another 70-80 runs.

 

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