Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flintoff Keeps England on Track for Whitewash

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flintoff Keeps England on Track for Whitewash

Article excerpt

Byline: By Myles Hodgson

Andrew Flintoff returned to The Oval and delivered another timely showcase of his talents to swing the momentum back in England's favour and keep them on course for a summer clean sweep at the final npower Test against West Indies.

A year on from his spellbinding 95 at the same ground ( which helped to beat South Africa and launched him on an incredible 12 months of success which has established Flintoff as the box office star of English cricket ( the Lancashire all-rounder once again grabbed centre stage to prevent West Indies claiming the honours Day 1.

Until Flintoff's brilliant 72, which guided England to a competitive 313 for five by the close, they had struggled to make the most of another good Oval batting surface after winning the toss with West Indies' attack maintaining their discipline to restrict scoring opportunities and make inroads into the strong batting line-up.

But their carefully-prepared gameplan was shattered in a crucial final session with Flintoff letting loose and helping to add 167 crucial runs off 40 overs to ensure the advantage remained with England as they chase their seventh successive Test triumph of the summer.

Flintoff hammered 13 boundaries during his 92-ball innings and passed 50 for his eighth successive innings, a feat only bettered by two players ( John Edrich and Alec Stewart ( in English cricket history, while he also passed 2,000 Test runs after reaching 60. He also changed the complexion of the match.

His innings, though, was far more important than mere milestones if only because it crushed a spirited West Indies response to the prospect of suffering a humiliating series whitewash for the first time under Brian Lara's captaincy.

The tourists kept England under control for the best part of two sessions and reduced them to 64 for three. …

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