England behind but still in first test, says Collingwood

Speaking after West Indies had eked out a 62-run lead, Collingwood heaped praise on the effort of his players for toiling for 90 largely fruitless overs under a hot Caribbean sun.

Collingwood also gave credit to Nkrumah Bonner, who made a marathon 123 to help the hosts edge to 373 for nine at stumps.   -  Action Images via Reuters

England interim head coach Paul Collingwood acknowledged after day three that West Indies had seized the advantage in the first test but insisted his team were still in the match.

Speaking after West Indies had eked out a 62-run lead with one wicket intact in its first innings in Antigua, Collingwood heaped praise on the effort of his players for toiling for 90 largely fruitless overs under a hot Caribbean sun.

Collingwood also gave credit to Nkrumah Bonner, who made a marathon 123 to help the hosts edge to 373 for nine at stumps.

"Certainly the game isn't out of our reach but I would say West Indies are slightly ahead," Collingwood said on a day when the visitors picked up five wickets while conceding 171 runs at a rate of less than two an over.

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"I thought the attitude was absolutely fantastic. We worked tirelessly today on a placid and docile pitch.

"At the start of the match I think everyone thought this pitch might break up and it doesn't seem to be breaking up at all. It seems to be getting slower and lower and better for batting on."

England captain Joe Root used seven bowlers -- his hand forced partly by an elbow injury to Mark Wood.

Collingwood said Wood -- who left the field after bowling only five overs and did not return -- might miss the remainder of the match.

"He's got a sore elbow. It's a concern and we'll just have to assess it overnight and see how he is and if he can take part in the second innings," he said.

"Of course, we miss our (fastest) bowler and what he gives with reverse swing but injuries happen in sport."

Collingwood had no hesitation in praising Bonner.

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"It's pretty difficult to cause problems with batsman who apply themselves like that.

"He stuck to his strengths, capitalised on short balls, scored well off the back foot and made it very difficult for our bowlers to get him out."

While a draw is the most likely result on a slow pitch that shows no sign of deteriorating, Collingwood was not quite ready to concede as much.

"There are still two days to go and anything can happen if the pitch starts breaking up," he said.

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