Moores happy with Colly good show

Published: Saturday, June 21, 2008, 1:07 [IST]
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Bristol: Paul Collingwood's return to form during the one-day international series with New Zealand has come at a "really good time" for the England limited overs captain, according to Peter Moores.

The England coach was concerned by the Durham all-rounder's form heading into this five-match campaign after Collingwood failed to score a fifty in four innings during the 2-0 Test series triumph against the Kiwis.

That extended Collingwood's run without a Test hundred to 12 matches but he has looked a transformed player during the shorter versions of the game.

He led England to a nine-wicket win in the lone Twenty20 at Old Trafford last Friday and made a run-a-ball 64 on his Riverside home ground during their huge 114 run-win in the first one-day international against the Black Caps.

"I think the one-dayers came at a really good time," Moores, whose team are 1-0 up, said ahead of Saturday's third clash in this five-match series.

"He takes on a lot of responsibility in the one-day format with captaincy, batting, bowling and fielding at backward point.

"He's struck the ball beautifully, bowled, and captained well - it's great to see a cricketer playing with freedom and enjoying his game."

Moores also defended Collingwood's captaincy, which came under fire after England took 83 minutes to bowl 19 overs in Wednesday's second one-dayer at Edgbaston before rain ensured a no-result with just one more over needed for a winner to be declared.

"He's captained well," said Moores. "He has always been a thinker about the game, he's got what I call coal-face skills.

"Being out there, he's very good at assessing different situations, different players and what the opposition would like and don't like."

New Zealand were understandably dejected by the way in which Wednesday's match ended but one consolation was the form of Brendon McCullum whose innings of 60 not out so nearly saw the tourists to victory.

Renowned as a dynamic hitter - he struck a Twenty20 record 158 off 73 balls for Kolkata in the Indian Premier League - McCullum showed he had the nous to pace an innings as well.

"It was a very mature innings," said New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.

"He had an understanding of the Duckworth-Lewis system and where we needed to be in every situation and he seemed to tick every box.

"It was fantastic to see a guy like that, who is predominantly an aggressive stroke-maker, just settle back and play perfectly in the conditions. It was a fantastic innings."

England are set to give a fitness test to left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom, who missed Wednesday's match with a stiff back, before naming their side.

Meanwhile, New Zealand are considering playing Jacob Oram, yet to feature in this series because of a hamstring injury, as a batsman only after his fellow all-rounder Grant Elliott took three for 23 on debut at Edgbaston.

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