Collingwood seeks big win before Ashes

England urged to make point with resounding victory in final Test before the Ashes in July

Slowly, inexorably the A word is beginning to creep into the conversation. It is as if it were a cricketing form of Tourette's syndrome. Much as England know that talk of the Ashes should be banned and is probably unacceptable in public, they simply cannot help it.

There is the Wisden Trophy to be annexed with the second Test beginning at Chester-le -Street tomorrow and there is a one-day series immediately following it, and then there is the World Twenty20. But, as Paul Collingwood confided yesterday, one eye and half a mind are on the Ashes. "It has been a difficult winter with certain issues that have gone on," he said. "But from the way we bounced back – certainly from the Jamaica Test – I don't think you could have asked the side to do it any better.

"There's been a real progression, the players feel that and we realise this is the last Test match before the Ashes. We can't get away from the fact that it is and we want to put a big performance in and win this trophy back. It hurt us when we got beaten by the West Indies out there and we want to get it back."

If England were overwhelming favourites to retain the Wisden gong in the Caribbean – and somehow conspired to lose – the odds about West Indies holding on to it for any more than 70 days should be longer than Southend Pier. England's main concern will be concentrating fully on the task in hand, rather than dwelling on the enormous challenge lying ahead. Equally, the Ashes are not about to go away. "The new management team has been fantastic," Collingwood said. "Andy Flower took over under difficult circumstances in the West Indies and he's led from the front. [Andrew] Strauss should take a lot of credit and has been very focused on what needs to be done. He's got the right people into the team in terms of personnel and everything they've done so far has been exceptional.

"We just want to keep progressing all the time and get into a position where we can win those Ashes. Winning is one of the major things that gives you the confidence and momentum to go into a series like that."

So win in the next few days, England must. The Riverside pitch is much more trustworthy these days, though these things are relative. There was only one total above 400 there last summer and at this time of year there will encouragement for the bowlers. "I expect it to swing and seam, though it'll be pretty flat," Collingwood said.

The main threat to West Indies' left-handers may still be the off-spin of Graeme Swann, as Shivnarine Chanderpaul acknowledged. Chanderpaul was dismissed twice by Swann in the 10-wicket defeat at Lord's last week while facing just three balls from him. "He's got all of us out so far, so we have to make sure we go out and find a way to deal with it," he said. He doesn't give it a lot of air – one or two times, he flighted it a bit. But he's pretty much an attacking bowler. We just have to be on our guard for him."

Chanderpaul's dismissals for 0 and 4 at Lord's cost him his No 1 spot in the world batting rankings. To regain it swiftly will require a special innings, which is all that will do for the West Indies.

*Keith Bradshaw, the chief executive of MCC, has resigned as a director of the England and Wales Cricket Board. He has frequently been at odds with the ECB over its running of the game, especially the introduction of a second domestic Twenty20 competition next year.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits