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Collingwood ready for Pakistan bowlers

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-07-27 17:52:11
Collingwood ready for Pakistan bowlers

NOTTINGHAM: Paul Collingwood is adamant there is no reason why he or his fellow England batsmen should feel daunted by the challenge of facing Pakistan`s bowlers here at Trent Bridge.

Pakistan go into the first of four-Test series starting Thursday on the back of a dramatic three-wicket second Test win over Australia at Headingley where they dismissed Ricky Ponting`s men for just 88 in the first innings last week.

Teenage left-arm quick Mohammad Aamer has been compared to Pakistan hero Wasim Akram while Mohammad Asif was likened to Australia great Glenn McGrath by Pakistan captain Salman Butt.

Umar Gul is a fine third seamer while leg-spinner Danish Kaneria completes an admirably balanced attack.

However, Collingwood - returning to Tests after missing England`s early season 2-0 home series win over Bangladesh with a shoulder injury - suggested Pakistan were flattered by overcast conditions at Headingley.

"I don`t want to go overboard on `these guys are the best thing since sliced bread` - or Wasim Akram, or this, that and the other," Collingwood told reporters on Tuesday.

Nevertheless he praised the 18-year-old Aamer, saying: "When I was 18 I was just getting a contract for Durham and playing club cricket out in Australia - so it was bare bones at the time.

"Seeing a youngster like that (Aamer) is excellent for the game."

But Collingwood added: "If we can get through those periods where it can be really tricky, I think we can get on top of them.

"To say they`re the number one bowling attack in the world I would say was over the mark.

"They have come up in conditions recently where it`s done a fair bit.

"Their confidence is going to be sky-high. But we`re a confident team ourselves."

England will take heart from the way an inexperienced Pakistan batting line-up lost seven wickets in pursuit of a relatively modest victory target of 180 at Headingley.

So England`s bowlers will fancy their chances at Trent Bridge, where paceman Stuart Broad and off-spinner Graeme Swann play for Nottinghamshire.

Pakistan, in what will be only opening batsman Butt`s second match as captain, are likely to go in with the same side as played at Headingley.

Meanwhile England, who have a 12-man squad, are set to stick with a policy of six specialist batsmen and four bowlers that has become standard under the regime of coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss.

Wile this might work against Pakistan, it could leave them a bowler light in Australia where they begin the defence of the Ashes in November and where no England side has won a Test series since 1986.

"We have done very well with the three seamers, and Swanny`s pivotal role in giving the seamers rest - with the wickets he gets and the pressure he puts on," Collingwood said.

"Sometimes I tend to think that when you do have four seamers one of them never bowls too much anyway.

As batsman Ian Bell is out with a series-ending foot injury, the top six appears to pick itself.

And so will, it seems, England`s attack after Yorkshire seamer Ajmal Shahzad was ruled out Wednesday with an ankle injury.

Shahzad`s county colleague Tim Bresnan was called into the squad as a replacement but it would now be a major surprise if England fielded an attack of anything other than James Anderson, Steven Finn, Broad and Swann.

As for Pakistan, Butt said: "We know it will not be an easy ride so we have to stick together and try our best. That`s all we can do."

BDST: 1451 HRS, JULY 28, 2010

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