Collingwood earns a call-up as Ponting seeks return to form

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The Independent Online

Collingwood has been in prodigious form for his county, scoring three hundreds in his last four innings.

"It's well documented that Birmingham has experienced unusually large amounts of rainfall in the last few days and this has put the groundstaff under extreme pressure," said David Graveney, the chairman of selectors. "Having looked at the pitch we have decided to add Paul Collingwood to the squad."

The decision is good news for Collingwood, who could add to the two Test caps he gained on England's tour of Sri Lanka in 2003. But it is unlikely to alter Australia's build-up to the second Test which finished at New Road yesterday.

Michael Kasprowicz claimed 5 for 67 on the final day of the drawn match but that is unlikely to win the fast bowler a place in Australia's starting XI. Kas-prowicz is competing with Jason Gillespie and Shaun Tait for the final spot in Ricky Ponting's side, but Australia, like England, will probably name an unchanged team at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Gillespie failed to take a wicket in the first Test at Lord's but a 12-over new-ball spell showed that he still has plenty to offer. He took two wickets, including that of Graeme Hick, and could have taken several more.

"Jason bowled very well early on and he wanted to keep going," said Ponting. "He shaped the ball away from the right-handers nicely, got a couple of edges and beat the bat a few times. The indications were that we weren't going to be out in the field that long so he wanted to make the most of it with the new ball.

"Kaspo (Kasprowicz) bowled well too once he found his rhythm. It will be a tough decision but if you look at the way Jason bowled here, and the way we performed in the first Test, he would be unlucky if we changed the team."

Australia declared on their overnight score of 406 for 9 and, after bowling Worcestershire out for 187, chose not to enforce the follow-on. Michael Clarke and Ponting made the most of the exercise, scoring half centuries before play ended.

Ponting looked out of sorts for most of the two and a half hours he spent at the crease. It took the Australian captain 22 balls to get off the mark and Clarke scored 33 of Australia's initial 34 runs. The dashing right-hander took 44 balls to reach his half-century - Ponting's took 101.

Yet this failed to worry Ponting: "I just wanted to spend some time in the middle so that I could get my game together again."

After dismissing Worcestershire it was slightly surprising to see Australia chose to bat. Gillespie bowled better than his figures suggested at Lord's but he is a bowler that thrives on hard work and would have benefited from another spell. The Australians, however, were happy with what they had witnessed.

Worcestershire won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings

(Overnight: 406 for 9dec)


S D Peters lbw b Tait 0

S C Moore c Hayden b Tait 69

G A Hick c Haddin b Gillespie 21

B F Smith c Hodge b Gillespie 1

*V S Solanki c Haddin b Kasprowicz 36

Z de Bruyn c Katich b Kasprowicz 4

Kabir Ali c Clarke b Kasprowicz 4

ÝD J Pipe not out 22

R W Price b Kasprowicz 0

M S Mason c Langer b MacGill 3

M N Malik c & b Kasprowicz 16

Extras (lb3 nb8) 11

Total (44 overs) 187

Fall: 1-9 2-44 3-48 4-133 5-140 6-144 7-144 8-148 9-151.

Bowling: Gillespie 12-2-45-2; Tait 13-4-51-2; Kasprowicz 15-4-67-5; MacGill 4-1-21-1.

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

M J Clarke run out 59

*R T Ponting not out 59

B J Hodge b de Bruyn 21

J L Langer not out 11

Extras (b6 lb5) 11

Total (for 2, 38 overs) 161

Fall: 1-80 2-120

Did not bat: M L Hayden, S M Katich, ÝB J Haddin, J N Gillespie, M S Kasprowicz, S W Tait, S C G MacGill.

Bowling: Kabir Ali 6-2-34-0; Mason 7-2-34-0; Malik 7-1-30-0; Price 12-2-26-0; de Bruyn 6-1-26-1.

Umpires: D J Constant and D B Hair.