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Collingwood eyes repeat performance

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Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood is keen for England to repeat their clinical performance in the first Test against West Indies at Lord's

Paul Collingwood has underlined the desire within the England ranks to deliver another emphatic display against West Indies and ensure their participation in the Ashes later this summer.

If England avoid defeat, they will regain the Wisden Trophy following their surprise series loss in the Caribbean during the winter and continue their momentum since slipping to defeat in the opening Test in Jamaica last February.

That will provide motivation enough for England's line-up but it is the prospect of taking part in the far bigger challenges ahead this summer - most notably the Ashes - that is spurring them on in their final Test appearance before facing Australia in Cardiff on July 8.

"It's been a difficult winter with certain issues that have gone on but I think the way we bounced back - certainly from the Jamaica Test - I don't think you could have asked the side to do it any better," said Durham all-rounder Collingwood.

"The way you go about trying to win Test matches, we really have nailed that from that day and hopefully you'll win more than you lose having that kind of formula.

"There's been a real progression, the players feel that and we realise this is the last Test match before the Ashes.

“We can't get away from the fact that it is and we want to put a big performance in and win this trophy back - it hurt us when we got beaten by the West Indies out there and we want to get it back."

The Ashes, and all discussion about it, has been notably absent from England's public statements in the build-up to both these West Indies Tests, with new coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss preferring to keep their own counsel on the matter.

But Collingwood is confident another emphatic performance at the Riverside will cement players in the selectors' thinking for the start of the Ashes at the very least before they switch to the one-day series and ICC World Twenty20 tournament.


Collingwood feels England are benefiting from a relaxed atmosphere within the squad

"We just want to keep progressing all the time and get into a position where we can win those Ashes," he said.

"Winning is one of the major things that gives you the confidence and momentum to go into a series like that.

"We're forever on our toes. We know we have to perform to stay in the side. In the end, it's our jobs - if you're a batsman, you have to score runs, and if you're a bowler, you have to take wickets.

"Everyone is desperate to play for England, get in that final XI and be part of that best team that gets picked for the Ashes.

“This is a huge game for us and for everyone to keep impressing and keep that confidence going."

He continued: "The atmosphere we've created in the dressing room is very relaxed at the moment.

“The new guys that have come in have pointed out it's a very enjoyable place to be and that has made it easier to go out and perform.

"It's a great environment at the moment, it's very relaxed and we know the job in hand but we're trying to enjoy ourselves and our cricket and I think that comes across in our performances at the moment."

Despite their emphatic victory at Lord's, which was achieved within three days, the selectors chose to shuffle the pack a little for the second Test with Monty Panesar dropping out and left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom and Ian Bell being added to the squad as cover.

Sidebottom played for Nottinghamshire in their Friends Provident Trophy match against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl while Bell featured for Warwickshire against Middlesex but both players will join up with the rest of the squad tonight.

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