Australia's pace keeps England honest
Paul Collingwood conceded that England had been dealt a warning shot by Australia’s pace attack in the first of two NatWest Twenty20 internationals at Old Trafford.
The game was washed out after only seven deliveries of England’s reply were possible following the tourists’ 145 for four, but despite the brevity of the innings, captain Collingwood believes there are still lessons to be learned.
The fact that England were four for two when weather intervened, with debutant Joe Denly and Ravi Bopara falling for nought and one respectively, illustrates the point.
Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson were the men to take the wickets, both bouncing back from Ashes series that were frustrating for different reasons to lay down their marker for the limited-overs leg of the tour.
Lee failed to make a Test appearance after sustaining an injury early in the tour, while Johnson endured some of the most difficult - and wayward – spells of his international career as Australia went down 2-1.
Referring to Australia’s seam attack – which also boasts the pacy Dirk Nannes – Collingwood said: “That’s something we’re going to have to overcome, the pace they have in their side.
“They have three 90mph bowlers and that’s something we are going to have to deal with. Hopefully we don’t lose too many wickets early but they are going to be coming pretty hard at us all the way through the series.
“I’m sure (Lee) is frustrated but he’s obviously looking fit now and bowling at a good pace, but I think we have the batsmen to overcome that.
“The pace they have got means it’s going to be a good series.”
Collingwood himself was the pick of the England bowlers, returning 2-20 from four overs with his nagging cutters, and he felt that helped his side to a good position when the rain came, despite the early setbacks.
“I thought we did some good stuff in the field and restricted them to a very gettable total on that wicket,” he said.
“It would have been a good game had it gone the distance.
“It was hitting the splice a lot when we were in the field and there was quite a lot of good carry in the wicket, so we would have had to play well to knock the runs off but it was a total we could have got.”
Cameron White, whose 55 from 36 deliveries reinvigorated an Australia innings that was on the verge of standstill, credited his know-how in the shortest form to his time in domestic English cricket.
“My Twenty20 experience comes a lot from this country to be honest,” he said.
“I had two years at Somerset where I played all the way through the Twenty20 Cup competition so that’s probably where I’ve played most of my Twenty20 games.
"So it was nice to get another opportunity with Australia and to take it for once, I guess.
"The situation gave me a chance to get myself in because we needed a bit of a partnership and then once we established that it was nice to bat with a bit of freedom at the end.
"I think it is a bit of the responsibility of the guys that have come from Australia for the one-day matches to try to provide a fresh face and to be nice and positive and to bring a bit of a change into the dressing room.”
White thought Lee had gone close to the type of speeds that have marked him as one of the world's fastest bowlers during his illustrious career.
"It seemed like it today," he said. "In Brett's first over his first ball was 88 miles and hour and it only felt like it got quicker from there.
"I was standing in the slips on the ring and it felt like we were standing too close, if that is any indication to go by. It was pretty quick."