Paul Collingwood gives his players “ten out of ten” for effort after hard-fought draw in Antigua
The return of Robinson after a back spasm during the warm-up game would strengthen a seam attack that only managed to take seven wickets in Antigua – three of them by Ben Stokes, the allrounder who was reportedly set to have a managed workload but ended up bowling 41 overs in the match. The absence of Wood will, however, leave England without an out-and-out quick, although the uncapped Saqib Mahmood is capable of touching 90mph.
“[Wood] has not bowled in the second innings here so you would say it is unlikely but you never know,” Collingwood told reporters in Antigua. “He recovered really well when he got some tape on there and some anti-inflams but we are going to have to see what the investigation say.
“Ollie is looking pretty positive at the moment. His recovery has been excellent. The backroom staff have done a great job on Ollie and he bowled a couple of spells today and is getting the ball through really well so that is looking really positive. We have Saqqy Mahmood as well and [Matthew] Fisher here, so not [looking for back-up] as yet. We will have to wait and see how Woody is in Barbados.”
“The boys are in a good place,” Collingwood said. “They want to win Test matches. We knew it was not going to be easy to take 20 wickets on there. We had to give ourselves time. The way we batted this morning, there were a lot of selfless dismissals out there, done for the team. We were trying to score runs quickly.
“We put ourselves in a good position. We lost a bit of time with overs to the rain which did not help. Bonner’s innings took a lot of time out of the game and I thought we were very proactive this morning to get ourselves in a position where we could give ourselves a chance. We were probably two wickets away from breaking the back of West Indies’ batting. We were very close. Some decisions could have gone either way but overall performance I thought it was a positive week.”
“I was really impressed with the way he held the game on a wicket that didn’t turn off the straight,” Collingwood said. “I’m delighted that he’s been able to do a holding role for us, that’s good signs for the future. Giving them that extra responsibility as a voice and a leader in the dressing-room, he seems to be thriving off that. They’re great signs. His accuracy right through the Test was brilliant and he caused problems. That’s a great Test match for him.”
With Root adding his 24th Test century – and a record 13th as England captain – Collingwood said there were encouraging signs around the team’s so-called red-ball reset, despite a nightmare first morning in Antigua where a scoreline of 48 for 4 bore all the hallmarks of recent failures. “I really believe he can turn this team around,” he said of Root, who was retained in the role as much because of a lack of alternatives following another chastening Ashes campaign. The next step will involve maintaining an upwards trajectory.
“We’ve had a good week,” Collingwood said. “We’ve got to build on that. There have been so many good signs but we want to keep that as the benchmark. Our ground-fielding was superb, our energy, our fitness levels, that’s a good sign of where a team is. Two hard days in the field, the boys kept plugging away. Great signs but it’s 0-0 and we need to turn up in Barbados with the same attitude and character, and desire – all the things that win you Test matches. That performance level, we’ve given ourselves a good chance.”
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick