Collingwood resolves to keep impetus

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Paul Collingwood is adamant last night’s loss to South Africa A will not halt the momentum England had gained from the positive start made on their tour of the country.

The all-rounder, in charge of the team this week in the absence of regular captain Andrew Strauss who no longer plays international 20-over cricket, began his brief stint as leader with a four-wicket loss to the Proteas’ second-string in Bloemfontein.

However, he insists his side will not be affected by the result, which came after a disappointing batting display saw them dismissed for 89, and is confident his troops will be ready for the opening Twenty20 encounter against South Africa later this week.

“No, not at all,” was his response to a question relating to lost momentum.

“I never like losing, but I think sometimes it is going to be a little bit of a reality check as well.

“We’ve started so well, we’ve pretty much done everything perfectly so far in terms of batting and bowling, our fielding’s been exceptional.

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“Tonight we got one of the disciplines wrong. That’s the area we’ve got to bounce back from and do better on Friday.

“But we’ve got a lot of togetherness in the side, it’s a really great atmosphere and there’s a lot of hard work going into it. I guess it’s just our decision making in this form of the game that tonight has let us down.”

Although England’s injury concerns are all minor, the list of affected players is growing with Graeme Swann the latest worry after he left the field with a slight side problem.

He joins frontline seamers James Anderson (knee), Graham Onions (back) and Stuart Broad (shoulder) with niggles, but Collingwood was expecting all, except Broad, to be fit.

He continued: “I think he is going to be doubtful. I mean it’s pretty much going to take a miracle if he’s going to be fit for the Twenty20s.

“He has been very sore on the shoulder there, but he’s progressing well, so hopefully he’ll be available for the first one-dayer.

“Jimmy’s just a little bit stiff in the right knee, but again he should be fit for Friday and Graham Onions will come back into the reckoning as well.”

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