Paul Collingwood

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Give Ricky a rocky ride

Our fans have given Ricky Ponting a bit of stick all series and if he is hoping for an easier ride in the fourth Ashes Test, he is going to the wrong ground!

 

Like Edgbaston, Headingley is one of the livelier grounds and I'm sure the Western Terrace will be in full voice when Ricky and his team-mates take to the field.

 

There has been some concern over the behaviour of fans and they have been warned to keep things under control, but none of the complaints have come from the Australian players who recognise it is part of the game.

 

We have experienced exactly the same thing on tour down there, and as the home team it is exactly what you want to see. You want the crowd to be fully behind you and put the opposition under pressure.

 

It's great when you have a football-like atmosphere, and as long as it stays jovial and does not get abusive, then I'm all in favour. It's what home advantage is all about.

 

The best thing I can say about my record at Headingley is that it is one I would like to improve on. I don't know the exact statistics but I have not had the best of times there in the past.

 

There is no particular reason for it, so I am keen to put things right and there is no better stage on which to do it.

 

We are one-nil up with two matches to play, so it doesn't take a genius to work out that one more win will be enough to secure the series.

 

There is no question of us playing for a draw, and it is obviously our aim to finish the job this weekend.

 

The carrot is dangling in front of us, and there is no greater motivation than the possibility of winning the Ashes.

 

Although we have got back-to-back Tests for the second time this series, we will be going in relatively fresh, as Edgbaston was pretty rare for an Ashes Test in that it did not have the tension of a close finish.

 

The bowlers put in a tough shift on the final day, but in general we did not expend the usual amount of physical and mental energy as we did at Cardiff, for example.

 

Everybody will be looking at the state of Freddie Flintoff's injury, and when you see the performances he has put in for us you can understand why.

 

He was not in the wickets at Edgbaston, but I don't think that had anything to do with his knee.

 

The wicket did not suit the taller bowlers like Fred and Stuart Broad, whereas the skiddier bowlers like Jimmy Anderson, Graham Onions and Ben Hilfenhaus had more joy.

 

The medical team will continue to assess Fred on a day-by-day basis, but I'm sure he will do everything he can to make a big impact over the last two games, and bow out of Test cricket in the best way possible.

 

Courtesy: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com

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