Heartening and Impressive

It was difficult to decide what was most heartening and impressive about England's second ODI win in as many games. The partnership between Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood, which signalled their own return to form and stabilised the England innings at a vital time, the lower-order runs from Jamie Dalrymple and Liam Plunkett which took them to a winning score, Vaughan's customary coolness under pressure, or the simple fact that from a position of relative weakness with ten overs to go they managed to win the game at all.

Well, it was all pretty good, and a timely reminder that this might not be such a bad combination of players after all, and maybe, just maybe, they're capable of winning a few more one-day matches when it counts, starting with the finals against Australia later this week. Maybe so, maybe not, but at least the Canada and Kenya games in the World Cup don't loom quite so large now.

A key factor in the victory over New Zealand was that for the second game in a row one of England's top order converted a fifty into a century, and Collingwood deserves the highest possible praise for kicking against weeks of failure going all the way back to the Adelaide Test and making some serious runs at the time when they were most needed. Not that anything less should have been expected from a player whose coolness and toughness of mentality ought to be talked about with reverence long after he's moved on.

In the wider context of the series and the future, it's good to see Stuart Broad called up again, if much less so to see Chris Tremlett and Jon Lewis on the way home.

Broad is unquestionably the future, and Tremlett could be as well, although it's getting to the stage where you have to start wondering if his fragile body will ever be up to the rigours of international cricket.

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