Collingwood retires as England fire

All-rounder bows out as England on verge of winning Ashes series by reaching record 644 against toiling Australia.

    Collingwood, second right, is congratulated after removing Australia's Mike Hussey in the first innings [AFP]

    England were all out for a record 644 after lunch on the fourth day of the fifth Ashes Test against Australia after veteran all-rounder Paul Collingwood announced he would retire after the series.

    The score, which gave England a first-innings lead of 364, was their highest on Australian soil having bettered the 636 for eight declared the 1928-29 tourists achieved at the same Sydney Cricket Ground.

    Australia face an uphill struggle to level the series at 2-2 on Thursday and Friday after England retained the Ashes by taking a 2-1 lead in Melbourne last week.
     
    Collingwood, 34, scored just 13 in England's record-breaking innings and has averaged just 15.54 in his last 10 Tests, despite an overall average of more than 40.

    He will continue to play for England as their one-day and Twenty20 captain after contributing to his side retaining the urn on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years, notably with some sharp catching in the field and by bowling dangerman Mike Hussey on Tuesday.

    The Durham player, who led England to their first international tournament trophy at the World Twenty20 last year, is set to lead the side in the 50-over World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh starting next month.

    'Amazing highs'

    "Representing England at Test level has always been a dream of mine and I've been fortunate enough to have enjoyed some amazing highs throughout my test career," Collingwood said in an England and Wales Cricket Board news release.

    "I'm proud of the fact that I've always given my all for the England Test team but I feel that this is the right time to leave Test cricket having reached some very special achievements, none more satisfying that retaining the Ashes in Australia."

    Collingwood ground out his career best 206 against Australia at Adelaide on the ill-fated 2006-07 Ashes tour, which England lost 5-0.

    In Sydney on Thursday Matt Prior scored the third hundred of the innings before Chris Tremlett became the last wicket to fall, caught behind off Ben Hilfenhaus eight minutes after the lunch interval.

    Alastair Cook (189) and Ian Bell (115) scored centuries on Wednesday and Prior continued the batting onslaught against the Australian bowling attack.

    The wicketkeeper-batsman shared a 102-run stand for the eighth wicket with Tim Bresnan (35), who batted for almost two hours until he edged a Mitchell Johnson delivery to Michael Clarke at second slip.

    Graeme Swann finished unbeaten on 36 when Tremlett was dismissed for 12, ending a 35-run last wicket stand.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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