Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Can England afford to call on fragile Flintoff again?


cricketIn the end it wasn’t about the two S’s, Swann and swing, it came down to the two P’s, patience and perseverance, as Australia’s batsmen swept away England hopes of a 2-0 Ashes series lead by holding on for a draw at Edgbaston. The challenge for Australia and their batting line-up now is to perform like that in the first innings of a test to put pressure on England, and not just in the second when they need to save a game.

This match didn’t get the denouement it deserved after the thrilling cricket played on Friday and Sunday, but mother nature can hold up her hand and take the blame for that. Just one more day’s play could have provided an intriguing finish, but it wasn’t to be.

In truth England’s bowlers didn’t bowl well enough, with Graeme Swann never quite touching the dizzy heights of Sunday night when he bowled a spellbinding over to Ricky Ponting, which eventually accounted for the great man’s wicket.

Flintoff bowled with aggression but now looks so seriously hampered by his knee injury you begin to wonder whether the Headingley test, which begins on Friday, might be beyond him.