Flintoff leads praise for 'one of the best England innings I've seen'

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The Independent Online

Paul Collingwood was suitably delighted after his 120 not out guided England to victory over Australia yesterday but admitted that he had to fight for his runs. "I went through a patch when I thought I was batting with a stump in my hand," he said. "But reaching the century gave me a positive attitude and it's great to bring the boys home. It's been one of the days when it's gone my way. When we were three wickets down I tried to keep positive and we [Ian Bell] tried to hit the ball over the top if it was in our areas. It was a great partnership which set the platform.

"I don't get many boundaries - I'm not the hardest hitter in the world. The big boundaries over here suit my game. I can scamper around between the wickets. I don't want to play outside my bubble - try to play like a Freddie or a Kevin Pietersen. I've got to play like Paul Collingwood."

On tomorrow's game, Collingwood said: "It's a massive game now and if we can win that it'll be a great flight home."

Captain Andrew Flintoff felt he needed to warn his players during the Australia innings. "I felt we were letting it slip," he said. "Our standards weren't there and a few words were had."

Flintoff was full of praise for Collingwood. "He leads from the front," he said. "It's one of the best England innings I've seen."

Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, was downbeat. "We fielded poorly," he said, "but after being in such a strong position to lose is disappointing. I said before if we play good cricket for 90 overs it should be enough to win - but the last 70 overs were terrible."