CRICKET : Record-breaker Paul Collingwood was in the thick of it as England restricted South Africa to 250 for nine – despite five dropped catches at Centurion.
Record-breaker Paul Collingwood was in the thick of it as England restricted South Africa to 250 for nine – despite five dropped catches at Centurion.
Captain Andrew Strauss put down two club-cricket dollies among his three spills, but Collingwood made up for the mistakes – and one of his own – with some breath-taking fielding and two wickets on a sluggish pitch.
Marking his 171st one-day international – and therefore bettering Alec Stewart’s previous England benchmark – in this second match of five, Collingwood was rarely out of the action in an innings propped up by half-centuries from Hashim Amla (57) and Alviro Petersen (64).
After Strauss had chosen to bowl first in sunny conditions but on a surface under cover for much of the past week because of unseasonal rain, England soon had their hosts 38 for two.
Collingwood was at his best in his gully/backward-point home – and for good measure got rid of Amla in his first over, and later on danger man Albie Morkel too.
Collingwood’s diving stop from a fierce square-cut by Graeme Smith at Tim Bresnan definitely saved four and might conceivably have contributed to a nibble on the back foot next ball – edged to slip, where Strauss took the regulation catch.
There could be no argument that Collingwood pretty much single-handedly saw off number three AB de Villiers. His supremely athletic dive to his left intercepted what looked another certain four off Jimmy Anderson (three for 60), and more importantly gave England their second wicket.
Yet Amla – replacing the injured Jacques Kallis – continued to profit from a mixture of fine timing and some handily directed edges. He was joined by JP Duminy in a stand of 73.
The third-wicket pair pressed on until Duminy, badly dropped by Strauss at short extra-cover when the left-hander drove a Sajid Mahmood full toss aerially, fell caught behind to Luke Wright’s canny change of pace.
By then Amla already had his 50 but he too was to go in a rush of four middle-order wickets for 54 runs.