Paul Collingwood marked his record number of one-day appearances for England yesterday with a performance of remarkable all-round skill. His batting, which produced a century, his bowling, which brought two wickets and was crisply economical, and his fielding, which yielded a breathtaking catch at point, were all exemplary.
It ensured that on Collingwood's 171st appearance, England won the second one-day international against South Africa by seven wickets. As the first was washed out they have a 1-0 lead in the series with three to play. Collingwood's unbeaten 105 from 110 balls was his fifth limited-overs hundred and his first for nearly three years. With his 2 for 24 and that catch he was a shoo-in for the man of the match award.
"It was a perfect day and a very proud one as well," said Collingwood. "In the context of world cricket it's not that many appearances but it was a nice feeling to turn up this morning and go out on the park. Everything went pretty much perfectly from a personal and team point of view. It was one of the best innings I've ever played, but the team played so well too and I thought we judged it perfectly."
Alec Stewart, the man whose caps record Collingwood overtook, sent two bottles of champagne and a good luck message to mark the occasion.
Andrew Strauss, the England captain, said of Collingwood: "It's great to see him taking that record because of the work he has put in over the years and the fact he has always contributed to the team in one way or another. He is playing better now than he has ever played, with a lot of intent which allows players to bat round him."
Collingwood shared a third-wicket partnership of 162 in 187 balls with Jonathan Trott, who was playing in only his second one-day international. Trott made a composed 87 from 119 balls until he was caught on the boundary seeking an early closure to proceedings.
It was England's sixth consecutive one-day victory against South Africa and the home side's captain, Graeme Smith, made no excuses. "England played well and we lost too many soft wickets," he said. "We were around 30 runs short of what we needed."