England v Australia, 5th Test, The Oval, 4th day September 11, 2005

Flintoff to the fore ... again

How Andrew Flintoff turned it on for England yet again

After managing just two wickets in 78.4 overs, England swept eight more in just 28.3 overs on the fourth day to wrest back the initiative and dampen Australia's hopes of an unlikely series-levelling win.

Not for the first time in the series, England's hero was Andrew Flintoff, who took his tally for the series to 24 wickets at an average of 27.29. The Australians tackled him quite comfortably earlier in the match, but Flintoff was in irresistible form on the fourth morning, nearly doubling his potential-wicket-taking deliveries - that's the number of balls which beat the bat, induced an edge, or rapped the pads - from 16.5% to 30.3%. In 89 balls on the fourth morning, he beat the bat 13 times; in 121 deliveries earlier in this match, he had only managed it five times. The result was four wickets for 30 runs in 14.2 overs, all bowled on the trot and interrupted only by the lunch break.

Matthew Hoggard improved his stats almost as dramatically, from 21.2% to 32.8%. He beat the bat or induced an edge 11 times in 61 balls on the fourth day, up from seven in 85 on the two previous days. Together, they ensured that, barring a collapse of monumental proportions on the final day, the Ashes should be theirs for the first time since 1986-87.