Selectors leave Collingwood out of Test equation

The Durham all-rounder has been in excellent form since returning from England's one-day squad. In his last four first-class innings he has scored 190, 12, 181 and an unbeaten 105. The 29-year-old has made 80 appearances for England in limited-over cricket but has played in only two Tests.

Collingwood's immediate future may lie in the hands of England's batsmen at Edgbaston, but he can take comfort from comments made by David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, which suggest he has moved ahead of Kent's Robert Key and Middlesex's Ed Joyce in the pecking order.

"Paul Collingwood was the only player outside the 12 we have selected for this match that we talked about," Graveney said. "It was not an easy squad to pick. There has been a lot of speculation about players around the fringes like Collingwood, and I know he is desperate to lose the tag of being a one-day specialist. We have taken him on tour before and know what he is capable of. He did well in his two Test matches in Sri Lanka when Nasser Hussain pulled out sick and he can only do what he can do, which is to go out and score runs."

The continuity shown by England's selectors in the last five years has helped the team's development. But several players need a much improved performance if they are to keep their place in the side for the third Test at Old Trafford.

"We have managed to become the second ranked team in the world by being as consistent as possible with selection," Graveney said. "This is obviously easier when you are winning but we always attempt to go into games with five bowlers. It would be extremely unfair to start messing around with the batsmen after one game. We did not want to add other players because it would send a mixed message to the players within the existing team.

"Obviously, there were areas we needed to improve on in order to win the game, but we wanted to stick with the same squad.We still have strong a belief in the squad that was selected."

Graveney denied claims that he had attempted to persuade Graham Thorpe to come out of international retirement.

"I have spoken to Graham in the last week," he said, "but it was about his health insurance. Graham is not playing for Surrey at the moment because his partner is about to give birth and he wants to spend some time away from cricket.

"In a perfect world we would want him stay involved, but I fully respect his decision. His life has moved on, he is going to emigrate to Australia at the end of the season and as far as myself and the selectors are concerned that door is shut," Graveney added.

Thorpe's experience, along with his ability to handle Shane Warne, was missed at Lord's. Kevin Pietersen was the only England player who appeared capable of handling the leg-spinner and this staggered Steve Waugh, the former Australian captain.

"I was shocked by the complete lack of game plan from both Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss," said Waugh, in his column in a Sunday newspaper. "They couldn't detect Shane's variations and in the process of looking dumbfounded sent a wave of danger signals to their team-mates watching on the balcony. They need to get the video tapes out and conjure up a plan that at least throws some pressure back on Warne or else they are as good as cooked.

"The Great One doesn't allow batsmen a reprieve if they are apprehensive. The same can also be said of Glenn McGrath. Like the great West Indian fast bowlers of the 1980s, once he gains the upper hand he'll drive home the advantage. England must disrupt his rhythm but that requires courage and conviction."

England (second Test v Australia, Edgbaston, 4-8 August): M P Vaughan (Yorkshire, capt) M E Trescothick (Somerset); A J Strauss (Middlesex); I R Bell (Warwickshire); K P Pietersen (Hampshire); A Flintoff (Lancashire); G O Jones (Kent, wkt); A F Giles (Warwickshire); M J Hoggard (Yorkshire); S P Jones (Glamorgan); S J Harmison (Durham); C T Tremlett (Hampshire).

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