Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Magic Man Flintoff Does the Trick Again

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Magic Man Flintoff Does the Trick Again

Article excerpt


ANDREW FLINTOFF worked his amazing magic again today just when England and their successhungry supporters were getting frustrated at Old Trafford.

Whether Flintoff is the best cricketer in the world right now may be open to debate.

But he is undeniably the man who makes England tick, with ball as well as bat, and here - on his home ground - he dismissed Ramnaresh Sarwan (40) and Brian Lara (0) in the space of six deliveries after West Indies had threatened to take early control of the third npower Test.

The start of play was delayed by an hour this morning because of a wet outfield.

Then, once Lara had won the toss, Matthew Hoggard removed Chris Gayle (5) with only 10 on the board.

But a stand of 75 between debutmaker Sylvester Joseph and Sarwan gave the Windies real hope of at last making an impression on this series after their heavy defeats at Lord's and Edgbaston.

Flintoff was having none of it, though.

First he persuaded Sarwan to attempt an ambitious drive outside off stump which succeeded only in dragging the ball into the right-hander's stumps.

Then, once Graham Thorpe had spilled a routine slip catch to deny Jimmy Anderson the wicket of Joseph, Flintoff claimed the biggest prize of all.

Lara moved across his wicket and was bowled by a superb in-swinging yorker from the larger-than-life allrounder which clipped his leg stump.

The roar of approval must have carried miles - and when Steve Harmison ended Joseph's innings on 45 via a slip catch which Thorpe managed to cling on to, West Indies were tottering again at 108 for four.

Most in the near-capacity crowd of around 17,000 would, no doubt, rather have seen England batting.

But Michael Vaughan did not look too bothered about seeing Harmison use a lively pitch.

Harmison's 'haul' from the first two Tests amounted to just three wickets at 81 runs apiece. …

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