Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flintoff Keeps England on Course for Test Draw

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flintoff Keeps England on Course for Test Draw

Article excerpt

Byline: By Myles Hodgson

Andrew Flintoff provided the most mature innings of his England career to spearhead a timely fightback and keep the tourists on course to salvage a draw in the final Test against West Indies.

The Lancashire all-rounder ended his disappointing run during England's series triumph to hit his third Test century and inspire England's spirited fourth-day response to Brian Lara's record-breaking innings of 400.

Starting the fourth day with England trailing by 580 runs on 171 for five, Flintoff remained unbeaten for over five hours in scoring 102 to use up precious time before the tourists were dismissed for 285 to concede a 466-runs first-innings deficit.

His efforts in facing 224 balls and ensuring West Indies took 99 overs to finish England's innings gave the top order precious time to rest and recover after two and a half days in the hot sun watching Lara's historic effort.

His superb innings enabled openers Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan to both hit their first half-centuries of the series and enjoy their most productive partnership to reach 145 without loss by the close and leave England trailing by 321 runs.

Having built his reputation as a crowd-pleaser, a player capable of flamboyant strokeplay and wholehearted back-up to England's strike bowlers, this was one of Flintoff's most patient performances since establishing himself in the Test side.

Flintoff was forced into playing a more thoughtful and intelligent innings by the loss of Geraint Jones, who had helped him add 73 the previous evening, in the second over of the day. Jones, playing his maiden Test innings, lasted only nine balls after the restart before being bowled playing around a fast and straight delivery from Fidel Edwards while both Matthew Hoggard and Gareth Batty kept Flintoff company for almost an hour each before falling to left-arm seamer Pedro Collins. …

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