Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Struggle to Answer Wakeup Call

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Struggle to Answer Wakeup Call

Article excerpt


ANDREW FLINTOFF couldn't stir himself here today as England dipped into big trouble. The all-rounder didn't get to bed until 3.30am this morning, having been required to stay up in order to receive the Sports Personality of the Year award live on BBC television.

But less than nine hours later he was walking to the middle with England already in trouble at 74 for three in the second one-day international. And, to no-one's great surprise, a fourth ball duck duly followed.

Flintoff, trying to pull Rana Navedul-Hasan, succeeded only in toeending a simple catch to mid-wicket.

England scored a mighty 327 for four here on Saturday to win the first of these five internationals by 42 runs.

But with this contest almost 20 overs old they were tottering at 89 for five with Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss and a less than 100 per cent fit Kevin Pietersen having beaten Flintoff back to the pavilion.

While Pakistan were unchanged in all respects, England made one minor adjustment to their 12 - appointing Vikram Solanki, rather than Liam Plunkett, the supersub.

There must have been a case for resting Flintoff, after his night-time duties. But the key all-rounder was ready to go come today's 11am start.

In fact, Pietersen had been a bigger doubt this morning. England's No4 complained of a back problem during the first match and was taken for a scan yesterday. That examination revealed an old hairline fracture to a rib, but he was cleared to carry on playing - provided he tried to avoid diving on his damaged side.

The early damage to the visitors' batting this morning couldn't really be helped.

Shoaib Akhtar soon worked up a real head of steam. Yet again, though, it was one of his devilish slower balls which rocked England.

Trescothick has seen enough of them on this tour. But picking the 'change down' delivery is still proving desperately difficult - and the acting captain pushed at fresh air while his off stump was being brushed. …

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