Collingwood keen to kick on
Paul Collingwood will only gain real satisfaction from his marathon match-saving effort in Cardiff if England go on to regain the Ashes this summer.
Last-wicket pair James Anderson and Monty Panesar earned the headlines after surviving 40 nail-biting minutes to deny Australia victory in the opening npower Test.
But Durham all-rounder Collingwood laid the foundations for England’s resistance, repelling the Australia attack for five and three-quarter hours and 245 balls after England slumped to 70 for five and to the brink of an innings defeat.
It was one of the great rearguards in recent Ashes history and, although Collingwood fell 11.3 overs before the eventual close, he joined his team-mates in leaving Cardiff relieved at completing the great escape.
His innings is unlikely to surpass his double hundred against Australia in Adelaide in 2006 for personal achievement - England, however, suffered a heart-breaking defeat in that game - but if it helps reclaim the Ashes later this summer it could be his most satisfying knock of all.
“I always say you've got to play to the situation and, although you can take a lot from personal highlights like double centuries and hundreds, when you do something like this it’s very, very satisfying,” said Collingwood.
“Okay, we only got a draw out of it in the end, but it means a lot to do it for the team and we can take a lot of heart out of the result in the end.
"I do love these kind of situations and to be able to get out in the middle and do your bit to help, so I can take a bit of pride in what I did, but at the moment it means nothing.
"We're 0-0 in the Ashes with four to play and hopefully it will mean a bit more come the end of the series if it is an important day amongst a winning series."
As one of the more experienced members of England's line-up, and one who lived through the 5-0 series whitewash Down Under in 2006-07, Collingwood is realistic enough to admit they must lift their level of performance considerably after being dominated by Australia for most of the first Test.
Both teams head to Lord's for the second Test on Thursday, where England have not beaten Australia since 1934, and Collingwood admitted the prospect of ending that sequence will spur them on this week.
"It makes it a really tough test for us, but in many ways we quite enjoy these challenges and the team will be looking to create history again by beating Australia there for the first time in a long, long time," he said.
"I'm sure the lads want to put a better performance in and get the win none of us have ever seen at Lord's over the Aussies.
"We've got to be realistic and we know that we got away with it a little bit in Cardiff. We were happy to get the draw, but we've got to regroup in the next couple of days and pick out the areas we need to improve on.
"We're moving to different conditions and different surroundings now, so we've got to get our heads round that and to be frank we've got to play a hell of a lot better."
Although captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower will underline the areas where England need to improve at Lord's, there is no doubt they will turn up for Tuesday's practice with spirits lifted considerably by their escape in Cardiff.
"Australia threw everything at us and that's what Test cricket is all about," stressed Collingwood. "You know that is what you're going to get when you play Australia and this is what Ashes cricket is about.
"I actually thought it was a great advert for Test cricket again because we've had all this Twenty20 cricket in recent months and you just don't get this kind of drama in Twenty20 cricket.
"This was pure edge-of-your-seat theatre which forced all the players to dig deep show a bit of fight and grit and determination. It was about survival and seeing a team home.
"Techniques were tested, minds were scrambled and it was about who could come through it. Thankfully, we can take a lot of heart from getting a draw there.”