Ashes belief growing for England

Paul Collingwood is convinced England truly believe in themselves as Ashes winners this winter.

Today's 10-wicket victory over Australia A in Hobart completed what Collingwood sees as near perfect preparation.



The success was sealed with almost a full session to spare at the Bellerive Oval, on the back of Ian Bell's wonderful innings of 192 and a sound all-round performance from England's back-up attack, led by Chris Tremlett with match figures of seven for 121.



Collingwood himself helped Bell pile up a crucial sixth-wicket stand of 240, after England had - for the third time in three attempts on tour - stumbled to a vulnerable position in their first innings.



On each occasion they have extricated themselves, Collingwood missing out narrowly on a hundred twice in succession - here and at Adelaide last week.



The upshot is two wins from three matches and by far the best of a rain-affected draw against South Australia last week.



Australia A captain Cameron White (111) refused to go quietly today, as did opener Phil Hughes (81). But Tremlett followed the example set by Tim Bresnan yesterday - like the Yorkshireman putting himself on a hat-trick at one stage - and despite some afternoon frustration at the hands of the impressive White, England got the job done again to put themselves in great heart for the start of the Ashes in Brisbane on Thursday.



Collingwood acknowledges the extent of the challenge they face to beat Australia down under for the first time in almost a quarter-of-a-century, up against opponents traditionally so strong on home soil and intent on wresting back the Ashes after defeat on their tour of 2009.



"Both sides have pressure on them, because we all know what the prize is," he said. "We hope now we have the genuine belief we can do it out here. I'm not 100% sure we've had that in the past. But I can safely say this time round we have."



Success at the Gabba is particularly hard to come by for touring teams, and the outcome of the first Test of five will clearly be hugely significant.



But Collingwood insists bucking such trends is one of England's favourite missions - as they proved, for example, with an elusive victory over Australia at Lord's last year. "The team see it as a challenge," he said.



"Whenever we have come across these sorts of challenges in the past - whether it be not winning at Lord's for 70 odd years - the guys really like it.



"Brisbane is one of those places where it is obviously difficult to get a result, because Australia have been very strong.



"But that just makes it even more exciting for us.



"We've got a good mix of guys who've experienced Ashes here in the past (and those who haven't). You wouldn't say there are mental scars there; it's more motivation to do well this time round."



Collingwood spoke stirringly six months ago of England's determination just before they beat Australia, under his captaincy, in the ICC World Twenty20 final in Barbados.



Borrowing from the same phrase book again, he appears to prize the Ashes at least as highly as that historic first success for England in an International Cricket Council global tournament.



"This is the ultimate; this is what we play the game for.



"We get tested, and this is the biggest challenge we can have as cricketers.



"It's something we've been waiting for a long time, and to get this opportunity is a great feeling.



"We're raring to go."



England discovered today the 13 names from which Australia will choose their team in Brisbane.



Among them are leg-spinner Steve Smith, the only inclusion from the A team England have beaten over the past four days, and left-arm orthodox Xavier Doherty.



The latter would be making his Test debut should he be picked, while Smith has just two caps.



Having taken a caning from Bell two days ago, Smith - bowled shouldering arms first ball by Tremlett this morning - must hope his normally reliable batting sneaks his inclusion.



Like Collingwood, he confirmed this winter's series as an unrivalled event for any English or Australian cricketer.



Smith divulged too that home tactics will centre on trying to undermine England captain Andrew Strauss.



"We always look to target the captain.



"If we can get under Andrew Strauss' skin and get him early and among the middle order that will be great for us."



Either way, he is just hoping he gets his chance. "The Ashes are the pinnacle for an Australian cricketer," said Smith.



"To be involved, I hope, will be a dream come true."

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home