The Ashes 2005 July 27, 2005

Flintoff vows England can bounce back

AFP



Andrew Flintoff: England can fight back after defeat © Getty Images

Andrew Flintoff claims England's batsmen can handle the challenge of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, despite their crushing defeat in the opening Ashes Test at Lord's.

"There's no panic in the England team - we still have good players," Flintoff told The Sun. "The rest of the series now is about our mental ability and strength of character as much as our technical skills.

"But the brilliant spirit in the squad has been built up over several years and one poor result has not changed anything. There are four Tests to go, that is a lot of cricket to be played over the next six weeks. We must come back strongly at Edgbaston next week."

McGrath and Warne picked up 15 wickets at Lord's and Flintoff said: "There's no doubt Warne is hard to deal with when you're batting against him. That goes without saying. He's a fine bowler so it's up to us to raise our game. We do have plans when facing him - we just don't walk to the crease without thinking about what we're going to do.

"But it's also important to be able to adapt, depending on how much the ball is spinning and things like that. It's good to have a gameplan but you must be flexible and reactive too."

"McGrath's opening spell after tea on the first day was a fine piece of bowling," Flintoff added. "The way he used the slope was superb. He got me out, though I think I was a little bit unlucky because the ball kept low. Again it is up to us to rise to the challenge and make sure we play better at Edgbaston."

One of England's few stars was Kevin Pietersen, who scored a half-century in both innings on his debut, even though he did drop three catches. Flintoff added: "Pietersen was able to deal with both Warne and McGrath by using good footwork and playing in a positive way."