Those three wickets contained the cream of Sri Lanka's batting with openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene back in the hut cheaply along with Twenty20 specialist Tillakaratne Dilshan.
When skipper Kumar Sangakkara went with the score at 47 for four in the ninth over, Sri Lanka were in big trouble.
The seamers, in particular Stuart Broad (2-21) varied their pace well, making plenty of use of slower, short pitched deliveries and the spinners kept the pressure on.
"Full credit goes to the bowlers, who went out there and adapted to the conditions on a slow wicket. I'm delighted with how they performed today. The guys have really been preparing well, analysing the opposition, and seeing where we can take wickets," said Collingwood.
A 46-run partnership from Chamara Kapugedera (16) and Angelo Mathews (58) ensured that Sri Lanka had something to bowl at, although afterwards Sangakkara said they had been around 30 runs short of a truly defendable total.
England though made short work of their reply - the South African born opening pair of Craig Kieswetter (39) and Michael Lumb (33) put on 68 for the opening wicket in 8.1 overs of selective but positive batting.
That pairing have been absolutely crucial to the transformation of England from also-rans to finalists in this tournament with their confident strokeplay ensuring a strong foundation to the innings.
Kevin Pietersen, less than 24 hours after landing back in the Caribbean following his whirlwind round-trip home for the birth of his son, then saw things through with his unbeaten 42 showing no signs of fatigue
Australia are favourites to beat Pakistan to set up an 'Ashes final' between the game's two traditional test nations, something Collingwood clearly would relish.
"I think everybody would love to see an England-Australia final, but we've got to give Pakistan a lot of respect as well, they are a very good side and we'll be watching the match with interest".