x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Collingwood hopeful of being fit

One of England's men of the series so far, he looks set to shake off a left index finger injury to take his place in the side for today's third Test.

CAPE TOWN // Paul Collingwood, one of England's men of the series so far, looks set to shake off a left index finger injury to take his place in the side for today's third Test. England go in search of an early series victory after destroying the South Africans by an innings and 98 runs in Durban. Collingwood, who contributed 91 in that Test and averages 83.50 with the bat, is an integral part of the side.

He suffered a dislocation in practice last Tuesday but underwent a full training session yesterday to give England a major boost. "Paul has been having a net and everything looks fine and he was batting without any discomfort," said captain Andrew Strauss. "We are very hopeful for him, barring any last-minute incidents. "He's contributed, both in this series and previously. It would have been a shame if he had missed out.

"We're very happy with our make-up and hopefully we can put in a similar kind of performance [to Durban]." England are unlikely to make any changes but Strauss has warned his side against complacency. "In a lot of ways we learned a lesson from Headingley in the [2009] Ashes," said Strauss, looking back to a match where England were heavily beaten going into it in a similar position, 1-0 up with two to play.

"We were saying 'let's finish it this week' when we should have been talking about just winning the first half hour. "That's very much the talk of the dressing room so far - let's get right back to square one and contest every over. If we do that well enough we should be in a position to win the game later in the week. "We need to be ruthless and just as desperate to win when we're up. "You can pat yourselves on the back and think you've got some breathing space but you can get beaten pretty quickly."