Collingwood successor will join an England team seeking world domination

Trying to break in to a successful team is one of the most difficult tasks in sport but it must also be one of the most enjoyable.

With England on the brink of winning the Ashes series 3-1 and playing more confidently and efficiently than they have for years, the man who replaces Paul Collingwood in this side will be the envy of dozens of his peers.

Collingwood announced today that the Fifth Ashes Test here at the SCG would be his last, although he will continue to play for England in the shorter forms of the game.

His successor in the Test ranks — Eoin Morgan is the current favourite — can look forward to being part of a team that have world domination in their sights.

The ECB were actually caught on the hop by the stadium announcer, who broke the news of Collingwood’s retirement before they could do so themselves. It was one of the few times on this tour that matters had slipped from the control of this ruthless England machine.

England require three wickets for victory tomorrow after another day of merciless cricket. They looked like finishing the job today, when Chris Tremlett removed Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson in successive deliveries, enabling captain Andrew Strauss to take the extra half-hour, but Steve Smith and Peter Siddle managed to survive. At the close, Australia were 213 for seven and facing their third innings defeat of the series.

Earlier, Matt Prior scored 118, his first Ashes century, to help his team establish a first-innings lead of 364. England compiled 644, their highest score in a single innings in Australia to leave the chastened Australian bowling attack thoroughly demoralised.

Regardless of the batting conditions, which have been excellent on days three and four, it is tough for a team to regain the initiative after they have taken such a pounding. So it was for Australia, who are still 151 runs short of making their opponents bat again.

Although England have been the superior side for most of the series, perhaps it would have been contested more closely had Australia not been prone to silly mistakes. In Adelaide and Melbourne, Shane Watson was guilty of running out his partners and here he brought about his own downfall.

Despite his team’s enormous deficit, Watson had begun confidently, attacking both Jimmy Anderson and Tremlett and racing to 38 from only 40 deliveries.

But then, after Phillip Hughes had turned Graeme Swann into the leg side and taken a simple single, Watson decided to embark on a second. Hughes disagreed, meaning both batsmen were left at the non-striker’s end as Prior collected Kevin Pietersen’s throw and completed an easy run out.

Hughes has looked out of his depth since he replaced the injured Simon Katich and it was no surprise when Tim Bresnan accounted for him, tempting the left-hander to push forward and drawing a thin edge that was pouched by Prior.

Stand-in skipper Michael Clarke then played with aggression and fluency, sharing a 65-run partnership with Test debutant Usman Khawaja. Khawaja is clearly talented, as his dismissive pull through midwicket off Anderson demonstrated, but this is an unforgiving level of sport. The ball after he had played that shot, Khawaja was outwitted by Anderson, edging a delivery he should have left through to Prior.

Bowling from the Paddington End, Anderson was showing superb control of the reverse-swinging ball. Having dismissed Khawaja, he also produced a delivery that was too good for Clarke. Like his team-mates, the Aussie No4 played at a ball he might have left alone and Prior did the business once again. Mike Hussey, Australia’s best batsman in the series, could not hang around either. He square cut Bresnan to Pietersen in the gully before Tremlett had Haddin top-edging to Prior. He bowled Johnson next ball but Smith and Siddle clung on.

When the day began, Australia would have been hoping to take England’s remaining three wickets quickly. Their bowling is so erratic, however, that Prior and Bresnan were able to extend the tourists’ lead without truly extending themselves.

Prior missed out on a century during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, where he made 85, but he was not to be denied here. From the moment he resumed on 54, the England wicketkeeper’s timing was superb and he played some splendid off-side strokes.Prior reached three figures when he drove Michael Beer through the covers for four. The Sussex man’s celebration was almost as memorable as the shot, as he leapt high and then trotted halfway towards the Barmy Army, waving his bat in the air. Prior had become England’s sixth century-maker of the series, with Collingwood the only member of the top seven not to score a hundred.

When Prior and Bresnan completed their century partnership, it was another milestone for England, for

this was the first time in a Test that a team have recorded stands of 100 or more for the sixth, seventh and eighth wickets.

Prior was the next to go, caught behind by Haddin off Ben Hilfenhaus but not before another umpire Billy Bowden had caused more no-ball confusion by asking TV umpire Tony Hill to check whether Hilfenhaus had overstepped. The delivery was legal by millimetres and Prior was on his way for 118.

Swann then took 12 off a single over from Johnson and continued to punish the left-armer, whose 36th over went for 22.

When Tremlett was the final man to fall shortly after lunch, England had made their highest total in Australia — another record in a tour bursting with them.

Johnson was ridiculed by the Barmy Army as he returned to his fielding position after that horror over, abuse which, to his credit, he took in good part by imitating one of Swann’s front-foot swipes.

When he and his team-mates reflect on the series, though, they will find few reasons to smile.

Tom Collomosse is the cricket correspondent for The Evening Standard.

people'It can last and it's terrifying'
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering