Paul Collingwood has backed the current crop of England batsmen to flourish when they visit Australia in two years’ time, insisting they can amass the sizeable totals needed to regain the Ashes.
Collingwood was an ever-present in the only English side to win a Test series in Australia in the last 32 years, where each of their famous victories in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in 2010-11 were founded on scores of 500-plus in the first innings.
In the 34 Tests since Joe Root was appointed captain, England have only gone beyond 500 in their first innings on one occasion, while their batting once again came under the microscope after a heavy defeat to New Zealand in Mount Maunganui earlier this week.
But ahead of the second and final Test in Hamilton, which began overnight and which England need to win to draw the series, Collingwood believes there is enough talent within the ranks and that, with a little patience, they will have a top-order that can prosper against extreme pace and economical spin when they next travel Down Under.
Asked what lessons can be taken from the most recent triumph in Australia, the former England all-rounder and now assistant coach said: “What I would say is we scored a lot of runs and then you’ve got scoreboard pressure.
“I’m very confident that this batting unit, over time, is going to score a lot of runs.
“I think the mentality of it, the way the guys are working, it feels as though we’ve got the right kind of personnel to score big runs.
“It’s a great challenge. To me, it’s exciting that in two years’ time hopefully we’ve got a strategy there that we go ‘right, we can go to Australia and play them at their own game’.
“They’re going to batter us with 90mph bowlers and make us feel uncomfortable, and a spinner at the other end who will dry us up. Can we find a solution to put them under serious pressure to get 20 wickets?”
England will need to find a way to take 20 Australian wickets, something they were unable to do in 2017-18.
In the last two series between the teams, Steve Smith has outlasted England’s bowlers and Collingwood accepts they may need a different strategy than merely attempting to dry up the runs.
“You look back and see what we were doing well (in 2010-11), and I would say everyone refers back to pace, but we didn’t have much pace actually, it was more down to accuracy – ‘bowling dry’ as we called it.
“It was almost playing on their ego, because they wanted to score runs, because it was the Australian way.
“But teams – even Australia – don’t really play with ego any more. They’re not saying we’re going to hit you, they’re very patient. Steve Smith shows that.
“So you might need a different type of bowler – you might need that extra bit of pace, might need some short stuff. It’s working out, who you’re playing against, what kind of conditions.”
Collingwood, along with fellow assistant Graham Thorpe and captain Root, will take charge of England after day two, with head coach Chris Silverwood flying home early because of a family bereavement.