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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Collingwood guides England to thrilling win

Collingwood guides England to thrilling win

February 09, 2007 17:40 IST

Paul Collingwood hit a superb century to guide England to a nailbiting four-wicket victory over Australia in the opening tri-series final match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

After Australia had slipped from a promising 170-1 to 252 all out, England recovered from 15-3 to win with three balls to spare and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Collingwood, who also took a superb catch and two run outs, struck the winning runs to finish on 120 not out as England recorded their second straight victory over the world champions.

Brett Lee picked up openers Mal Loye (0) and Ed Joyce (6) and Nathan Bracken trapped Andrew Strauss for a duck as England made a poor start to their reply but a controlled stand of 133 between Ian Bell (65) and Collingwood set them on their way.

When Lee bowled Bell, Collingwood then added 74 with Andrew Flintoff (35) before it fell to a nailbiting run chase at the death.

Needing 25 off the last three overs, Collingwood hit two superb fours off Shane Watson, and he and Paul Nixon reduced the target to four runs off the last over.

The Durham batsman, who scored his second straight century, punched the air with delight as he steered Nathan Bracken through midwicket for the victory.

After winning the toss, Australian skipper Ricky Ponting hit 75 and added 138 for the second wicket with Matthew Hayden (82) to put the hosts on target for a total in excess of 300.

However, some tight bowling and fine fielding by England put the brakes on the middle order as the hosts stumbled from 170-1 to their modest finishing total of 252 all out in 48.3 overs.

After losing Adam Gilchrist for five, Ponting's fluent 75-ball knock was ended by a brilliant diving catch by Collingwood at cover off Monty Panesar.

Hayden went next over when Sajid Mahmood collected a steepling catch at long-on off Jamie Dalrymple, and Brad Hodge was trapped leg before for five by Panesar to make it 196-4.

Australia then lost Michael Clarke (33) to a Collingwood direct hit and Mike Hussey (17), caught behind off Flintoff, in consecutive balls.

The stand-in skipper then had Hogg caught by Bell at cover for 10 before another throw from Collingwood ran out Lee for a duck.

Watson (9) holed out off Mahmood to Bell at mid-wicket and Flintoff, who finished with 3-41, wrapped up the innings when he bowled Glenn McGrath for a duck.

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