England’s overdue come-back

Collingwood, cruelly denied a century when he was stumped on 96, was at the heart of an England resurgence on day four at the Gabba that belied the Ashes holder’s meek surrender to a fired-up Australia in the first three days.

“Today was about fighting, about pride, a bit of passion,” he said.

“Not just talking about it but going out there and showing it.

Not just stonewalling but taking the game to the Australians, that’s the way we need to play.”

The 30-year-old Durham right-hander came agonisingly close to posting his third Test century but was stumped by Adam Gilchrist when he was stranded after jumping down the wicket to a beguiling Shane Warne delivery.

“Got done in the flight, didn’t I?” he smiled.

“(Warne) just tossed it up and lured me down and I missed it.

Enough said.”

Collingwood was happier to focus on England’s rediscovered fighting qualities than dwell on his personal frustration.

“Obviously I’m a little disappointed not to make the hundred, but if you look from the team’s point of view it was an important day for us,” he said.

“The first three days didn’t go as well as we would have liked and it was important we came out today and put up a fight, and we’ve certainly done that, playing some positive cricket.”

While England face a seemingly impossible task to salvage anything from the first Test as they chase a mammoth 648-run target, Collingwood said Sunday’s performance would boost morale and help get the team’s Ashes defence on track.

“(It’s) very important, we needed a day like this as soon as we could, and thankfully it came today,” he said.

“The first three days were hugely disappointing to us and we needed to get our confidence back and prove to ourselves that we can beat Australia.

“Certainly, if we get our heads together, put partnerships together and play in the manner we did today, then we can.”

He said England would be looking for their renewed aggression from the first ball of the second Test in Adelaide beginning on Friday.

England’s fighting attitude was on display when Kevin Pietersen, with whom Collingwood shared a 153-run fourth-wicket stand, clashed with Warne after the Australian spinner threw the ball at his head at the end of his 15th over.

Unbowed, the England No. 5 swatted it away with his bat and snapped back at Warne, his team-mate at English county side Hampshire.

“That’s Test cricket … Kevin Pietersen’s a guy who likes a challenge and that why when he comes up against the best players he wants to prove himself, he’s up for a fight as well,” Collingwood said.

He even retained a faint hope that England could make Australian captain Ricky Ponting regret his decision not to enforce the follow-on by batting through day five to seize an unlikely draw.

“If we can get away with this tomorrow, then obviously we’d be happy with the decision that’s been made, but we’ve got a long way to go,” he said.