England v Australia, 2nd npower Test, Lord's, 5th day July 20, 2009

Flintoff, bloody Flintoff

Four years on from his greatest moments, Andrew Flintoff was at it again with a match-winning performance
60

Bloody Andrew Flintoff. Bruised, battered, triumphant Andrew Flintoff. One bad leg, another great home Test against Australia. There he is, raising his arms again in his parting-the-waters pose, leading England closer to the Ashes promised land.

Minutes after the match Princess Anne was at the back of the pavilion, policemen clearing her way through the fans, but only a handful stopped to watch her pass. England cricket's royal was on the field, spectators shouting and bouncing at his latest effort to prevent an uprising from the Dominions.

He's a man who, given the condition of his right knee, should be kept to five-over spells. Not interested, his mind says. After his fourth-ball removal of Brad Haddin, who was caught at second slip, he spoke at Andrew Strauss. "Just to let you know I'll keep bowling until all the wickets are gone." He did, taking 3 for 43 in ten overs and toasting himself by lunch. No weak link or cartilage here, just more tormenting of Australia.

Everyone in England has 2005 tattooed on the brain, when England rode on Flintoff's back and the visiting batsmen's feet turned to concrete. The calendar says 2009 but perhaps time has frozen. Once again the Australians are trying to talk like they are still capable of dominating the contest; Flintoff is sitting back, lounging like he's puffing on a cigar. He would be fun to be out with tonight.

No wonder the home supporters don't mention the excessive drinking and disappointment of 2006-07. Why stain his contribution by looking at his failures? Always look on the bright side of life, without the irony.

He started with a fruity Sunday morning sermon to Phillip Hughes and finished with 5 for 92 the following day. Not the worst time for his third five-wicket haul in Tests. Despite the emotion and a twinging, throbbing knee, he is determined to make it to The Oval, bowing out with more industrial-strength noise.

"I'd do anything to get out on the field and finish the series," he said. "I bowled all my overs, I might have been in a bit of discomfort but I've been in discomfort most of my career. It's encouraging I can come in and bowl as many overs as I have done, it bodes well for the last three Tests."

Strauss rated Flintoff in the top three bowlers that opposition batsmen hate to face, due to his "consistent hostility". Ricky Ponting compared the potency of his top-class spells to those from Ambrose, Walsh and Akram, bowlers from an era few modern players can remember. Talk of Flintoff's injury and the possibility of him not making it through the series are not being listened to by the Australians.

"I think it's rubbish," Ponting said. "If Flintoff can bowl like that today I don't think he's in any danger of missing the next Test."

After taking care of both openers on the fourth day, Flintoff ended England's fears of an Australian world record with Haddin's edge. He followed up by bowling Nathan Hauritz and when an inswinger broke Peter Siddle's stumps Flintoff dropped to his knee. Accepting the applause - "I milked the crowd a little bit" - he was swamped by his team-mates who hugged the air from him.

On the Australian balcony there were glum, stubbled faces caused by a familiar foe. "We've always said that when he's up and running and bowling as well as he can he's as good as anyone probably going around," Ponting said. "He gives his all. His spells have not got shorter through the game."

And Flintoff thinks he is becoming faster and smarter, the only thing hampering him being the trailing of strapping tape and pain-killers. "It's quite sad in some ways that I feel I'm getting better as a bowler," he said. "It's just unfortunate I'm having to do what I'm doing with where the body's standing up. I'm learning a bit more about bowling and how to bowl.

"My length is naturally probably a little bit shorter and aggressive. Once you get the batters back, probably the full-length ball is a little bit more threatening. I've got an understanding of what to do, I'm going to have to apply that in the next three games."

He was talking less than an hour after the match but already his name was taped to the bowling honour board, his five wickets earning a spot six years after he made it on the batting list for a century against South Africa. That was "nice", he said, but winning the Ashes means much more. A second grabbing of the tiny urn will be worth a retirement full of limping.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricket_is_my_life on July 22, 2009, 23:22 GMT

    Australia lost the test in the first inning itself and in the battle of first innings, England's heroes were Strauss with the bat and Anderson with the ball. Anyone of these two should have been the man of the match. Filntoff shined when Australia was chasing 522. Any team can defend 521 and win if there is enough time left. This time Flintoff has done it for England, but it could have been anybody. No heroics is needed to win with a lead of 521. So, what is the big deal?

  • whits106 on July 22, 2009, 13:41 GMT

    iamabbas: you're missing the point of it. I'm Australian. Yes, he doesn't have great averages or stats. But his presence makes him a great player. He lifts England to another level and inspires them, and when bowling at his best, is as good if not better than anyone in world cricket. I agree with Tangles though, Strauss was very hard done by with the MOTM award.

  • iamabbas on July 22, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    Whats the big deal about this guy? He may be England's best player right now but he is definitely not even close to the best in the world. His averages in Tests are mediocre. There are plenty of players with those averages. When will he English learn that the world does not revolve around their star players.

  • Tangles01 on July 22, 2009, 3:06 GMT

    Freddie gets a couple of tail enders and a wicketkeeper out on the final morning and he's gods gift. I think Strauss was pretty hard done by not getting man of the match with 190 odd runs.

  • topeleven on July 21, 2009, 20:22 GMT

    Well Done Freddie and England for winning the test in a convincing manner, which was missing before. To some of the australian fans, I would like to say that please don't forget that in Australia when they play, they play with 13 players or 14 if u include the third umpire. Michael Slater against India was not given not out when he was runout by a mile. He continued playing and scored a century. The same Michael Slater argued with our Indian umpire Venkaraghavan for not allowing a catch taken by him Rahul Dravid. Pietersen was given out LBW for a delivery going over the stumps in Gabba in 2006 ashes, Andrew strauss was very unlucky to be given out caught at shortleg of shane warne in famous Adelaide test. Like this many circumstances can be quoted by cricket fans. Don't also forget the infamous sydney test against India when Australia showed all the unsporting behaviour. Please don't find umpiring faults when u r not winning ans praising umpires when u were tormenting the opposition.

  • Avid.Cricket.Watcher on July 21, 2009, 19:17 GMT

    Flintoff's place in cricket's pantheon is a tricky proposition. There is no question he is an icon who inspires his countrymen and his team. For whole-hearted effort, he is second to none. Then on his day, his high pace, bounce and accuracy can trouble any batsman in the world. Also, as Boycott has mentioned often, no one has really been able to get after him over the years. He keeps the batter under pressure, which really helps his bowling mate at the other end. Finally, he is someone who has truly played Test cricket in good spirit. (A hugely pleasant aspect...esp for a fast bowler!)

    But sadly, devastating performances like in this match have been few and far between, which has meant that a Chris Cairns (another super talent) has better batting and bowling averages, with far more fifers. So while Flintoff had the talent and the heart to be an unquestionable great, perhaps his misfortune with injuries coupled with his natural shorter length have denied him that.

  • vivek464 on July 21, 2009, 16:41 GMT

    I think that Flintoff is definitely one of the the top fast bowlers today, but rating him besides Akram, Walsh, and Ambrose would be overrating him a bit. Nevertheless Flintoff is a class bowlers who has terrorized batsman.

  • rustin on July 21, 2009, 16:19 GMT

    @anyone who was thought I was comparing him to Akram, I was just saying since Akram, I haven't seen a better bowler than Flintoff at his best. That is by no means comparing him to Akram.

  • umerlakhani on July 21, 2009, 15:55 GMT

    Flintoff is an amazing bowler. he can bowl aggressively and accurately all at the same time and do it for long spells if need be. he clicks, england wins the ashes, he doesnt, they have problems. other players feed of him, take the example of graeme swann, his body language was positive cause he was drawing on flintoff's positive energy. but england need to re assess their fast bowling attack cause anderson and broad will not win them the ashes, let alone the next test match. anderson bolwed well in the first innings but he does not do that consistently and when needed and anyways his first innings performance was not all that great either.

  • raghavp on July 21, 2009, 14:13 GMT

    freddie deserved to win this mathch for tengland at lords.he is a great allrounder and the cricketing world will miss him.

  • cricket_is_my_life on July 22, 2009, 23:22 GMT

    Australia lost the test in the first inning itself and in the battle of first innings, England's heroes were Strauss with the bat and Anderson with the ball. Anyone of these two should have been the man of the match. Filntoff shined when Australia was chasing 522. Any team can defend 521 and win if there is enough time left. This time Flintoff has done it for England, but it could have been anybody. No heroics is needed to win with a lead of 521. So, what is the big deal?

  • whits106 on July 22, 2009, 13:41 GMT

    iamabbas: you're missing the point of it. I'm Australian. Yes, he doesn't have great averages or stats. But his presence makes him a great player. He lifts England to another level and inspires them, and when bowling at his best, is as good if not better than anyone in world cricket. I agree with Tangles though, Strauss was very hard done by with the MOTM award.

  • iamabbas on July 22, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    Whats the big deal about this guy? He may be England's best player right now but he is definitely not even close to the best in the world. His averages in Tests are mediocre. There are plenty of players with those averages. When will he English learn that the world does not revolve around their star players.

  • Tangles01 on July 22, 2009, 3:06 GMT

    Freddie gets a couple of tail enders and a wicketkeeper out on the final morning and he's gods gift. I think Strauss was pretty hard done by not getting man of the match with 190 odd runs.

  • topeleven on July 21, 2009, 20:22 GMT

    Well Done Freddie and England for winning the test in a convincing manner, which was missing before. To some of the australian fans, I would like to say that please don't forget that in Australia when they play, they play with 13 players or 14 if u include the third umpire. Michael Slater against India was not given not out when he was runout by a mile. He continued playing and scored a century. The same Michael Slater argued with our Indian umpire Venkaraghavan for not allowing a catch taken by him Rahul Dravid. Pietersen was given out LBW for a delivery going over the stumps in Gabba in 2006 ashes, Andrew strauss was very unlucky to be given out caught at shortleg of shane warne in famous Adelaide test. Like this many circumstances can be quoted by cricket fans. Don't also forget the infamous sydney test against India when Australia showed all the unsporting behaviour. Please don't find umpiring faults when u r not winning ans praising umpires when u were tormenting the opposition.

  • Avid.Cricket.Watcher on July 21, 2009, 19:17 GMT

    Flintoff's place in cricket's pantheon is a tricky proposition. There is no question he is an icon who inspires his countrymen and his team. For whole-hearted effort, he is second to none. Then on his day, his high pace, bounce and accuracy can trouble any batsman in the world. Also, as Boycott has mentioned often, no one has really been able to get after him over the years. He keeps the batter under pressure, which really helps his bowling mate at the other end. Finally, he is someone who has truly played Test cricket in good spirit. (A hugely pleasant aspect...esp for a fast bowler!)

    But sadly, devastating performances like in this match have been few and far between, which has meant that a Chris Cairns (another super talent) has better batting and bowling averages, with far more fifers. So while Flintoff had the talent and the heart to be an unquestionable great, perhaps his misfortune with injuries coupled with his natural shorter length have denied him that.

  • vivek464 on July 21, 2009, 16:41 GMT

    I think that Flintoff is definitely one of the the top fast bowlers today, but rating him besides Akram, Walsh, and Ambrose would be overrating him a bit. Nevertheless Flintoff is a class bowlers who has terrorized batsman.

  • rustin on July 21, 2009, 16:19 GMT

    @anyone who was thought I was comparing him to Akram, I was just saying since Akram, I haven't seen a better bowler than Flintoff at his best. That is by no means comparing him to Akram.

  • umerlakhani on July 21, 2009, 15:55 GMT

    Flintoff is an amazing bowler. he can bowl aggressively and accurately all at the same time and do it for long spells if need be. he clicks, england wins the ashes, he doesnt, they have problems. other players feed of him, take the example of graeme swann, his body language was positive cause he was drawing on flintoff's positive energy. but england need to re assess their fast bowling attack cause anderson and broad will not win them the ashes, let alone the next test match. anderson bolwed well in the first innings but he does not do that consistently and when needed and anyways his first innings performance was not all that great either.

  • raghavp on July 21, 2009, 14:13 GMT

    freddie deserved to win this mathch for tengland at lords.he is a great allrounder and the cricketing world will miss him.

  • DURMOTHJ on July 21, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    Andrew Flintoff has demonstrated what a great compeditor he is and doing so at a time when his team mates and his country really needed him. As a former Leeward Island cricketer, I have never seen Andrew Flintoff in action, but he always strikes me as a great team player and someone who understood the psychology of the game. What a remarkable figure for young cricketeres to emulate. At this point I hope that Andrew will be able to finish off this overated Australian team in the remaining games of the Ashes. Keep up the good work and I wish you well in all future endeavours after the game of cricket. As the great fast bowler Andy Roberts said "hold your head high but keep your feet on the ground".

  • kanaima on July 21, 2009, 13:12 GMT

    Freddie Flintoff had an excellent test match - an England won! But does that justify comparing him to the legends? Legends - like Ambrose, Walsh, Akram, McGrath - had similar performances on a much more regular basis. In the case of Freddie his standout performances can be counted on one hand. Is that the stuff of legends?

    Aw come on, all of this hype simply because England won one match - and remember the series still has 3 more matches? It seems that England is so steeped in self doubt that this victory has suddenly made them feel that they're equal to Australia.

    If you can't win a match at home then you're not a high quality test team. so at least this victory confirmed that. But will they be able to win the series? One bad session from Flintoff - like Mtchell Johnson - and suddenly England's self doubt will resurface.

  • whits106 on July 21, 2009, 12:16 GMT

    I think alot of people are looking into this a bit too much. Stat's wise he is not the best since Akram, Ambrose, McGrath or anyone. He never will be. I think the point is, that when at his best he can be as lethal and if not better than them. I notice too someone mentioned that he only took 3 "legal wickets" in this test. True or not (depending on your point of view), he took 5 wickets, and Australia has had their fair share of "luck" when it comes to contentious calls in the past. What goes around comes around!

    He is to me one of the greats in the sense that he can inspire his team to lift in times of adversity. He has a presence and an auro about him. You don't purely measure players by their stat's, Flintoff's career has been too interrupted and hampered by injury to do him justice. When he is playing, England lift by 10 fold

    I'm an Australian, and I admire the guy, good on him! Well done to England, they outplayed us from ball 1. Let's hope the rest of the series is as good!

  • Graduated_Cheetah on July 21, 2009, 11:46 GMT

    I wonder why nobody mentions about the '07 Ashes when England were beaten in 5 tests on the trout ... At that time Flintoff, bloody Flintoff was standing below the scorecard of Aussies 5 to England Nil haha ...

  • griqua96 on July 21, 2009, 10:21 GMT

    Test cricket needs characters. Freddie Flintoff is undoubtedly one of those characters and there is no disputing that he has (on a FEW occasions) lifted England to memorable victories but to start calling him one of the greats of the game is an affront to many better cricketers who are currently playing or have graced the game with their genius. He is a great character and gives 100% at all times but his stats just don't support any claim to him being a great. After more than a decade of Test cricket it's safe to say that the stats that he has produced are a true reflection of his ability. To say that he will be remembered as an unlucky bowler is an emotive piece of journalism that could be applied to anybody who's had a ball pass the outside edge or been given out LBW to one pitching outside leg. Test cricket will be poorer for his retirement but let's not get carried away in the eulogising.

  • CrickSupp on July 21, 2009, 10:09 GMT

    Well Done Freddie..... he is definitely someone England will miss for years to come. Hopefully he is still associated with the game some how or the other. ECB needs to make sure that happens. the cricket world shouldn't miss such a star

  • zaragon on July 21, 2009, 9:53 GMT

    Flintoff is never going to compare with the greats on statistics! Players like McGrath, Walsh, Ambrose will always be miles ahead. He won't even look like a particularly great all rounder because injuries have hampered his career and his batting is flawed. But on his day he is a cricketer capable of world beating performances. Every team needs a hero who can change a game. Players like Afridi and Symonds - or even Ryder - are that kind of player. A great team has a mixture of consistently brilliant players and at least one hero with a big personality who on his day can simply blow the opposition away. On other days they will be disappoint. Freddie is one of those - and we love him because of days like yesterday. As a supporter those are the days you remember. Freddie may not be an all time great statistically but he'll be remembered far longer than many who achieved far more if you go by the numbers alone.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on July 21, 2009, 8:16 GMT

    Freddie Flintoff has once again proved that he is the greatest cricketer of our time. He is one of those rare cricketers in today's world who play for their team rather than for themselves. The way he kept on bowling for 10 overs consistently over 90 mph despite an injured knee shows he has a heart like a lion. I think he can surpass his heroics of 2005 in this year's Ashes. That will surely seal Sir Freddie Flintoff's place among cricketing greats.

  • Goku_Dragon on July 21, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    Well i dont get the point here, why on earth England thinks that they have achieved something, come on , if u cant win a test match in your own backyard, how on earth you expect them to do well in australia, if england had won like this in australia, then they can think that they had achieved something, this is so stupid.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 21, 2009, 7:40 GMT

    4 years ago the cricket world was talking about the demise of Australian cricket. 4 years later, we're seeing this happen around our eyes. After 'Ponting-gate' during their series against India, the Australian fans quite amazingly point to a 'noball' and a clean but 'disputed' catch as the entire reason they were thoroughly beaten by a superior cricket team to their own in this match. The brutal facts are staring into the eyes of Australia and it's fans, a little honesty and humility might help everybody else view them with a bit more pity.

  • popcorn on July 21, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    Typical hype, not confined to the common man.Just the day before, Michael Atherton compared him with a second hand car, and yesterday, he was gushing! Flintoff took only three legal wickets, whatever the scorebooks may say. Hughes and Katich were not out, and you can't erase that from our memory. Nor can you erase our 5 nil victory that humiliated him and England in 2006 -07. We waited 86 years to do it again after Warwick Armstrong did.

  • Aahd on July 21, 2009, 6:26 GMT

    LOL...guys, the person 'facing' Freddie compared facing Freddie at his best to facing Ambrose and Akram. Give it to Ponting that he admitted an intimidating presence when he saw one. I am by no means a Freddie fan, I am a Pakistani who hasn't seen him play a lot but hey, if a guy does well he deserves his time in the sun. Don't take this as an insult to Akram or Ambrose or even Glenn McGrath, I don't think any was meant. What Ponting probably meant was that Freddie was at them like some great fast bowlers of the past used to be.

    Good work Freddie and England, I wish our injured 'sher' (Lion), Shoaib Akhtar could do half the work Freddie did in the game...I was wondering how Freddie could bowl 10 overs on the trot when his body is 'falling apart', Shoaib bowls 4 in a spell and usually the fourth is the one where you get a flurry of boundaries because he doesn't want to come back for more...

  • boris6491 on July 21, 2009, 6:25 GMT

    It's disappointing to see that Flintoff is being REMOTELY compared to those great West Indians or Wasim Akram. There is no way he has merited that status by this one performance. Thats not to take anything away from an excellent spell on the final day but honestly, this is a bit ridiculous. He has long been overrated and one good performance has always launched him up with the greats. He will never be there in the official record books and does not deserve to be there otherwise. ONE good series performance and a couple of good performances here and there doesn't mean anything in the modern game. In his time as a cricketer he has been hyped up by the media but has never delivered and fulfilled that promise. It is really disappointing to read articles like this when you think of the many fast bowlers of yesteryear who were FAR better than Andrew Flintoff will ever be yet don't get half the recognition or credit he does. There is an evident problem.

  • Josephus72 on July 21, 2009, 5:43 GMT

    One of the most exhilarating sights in any form of cricket is a genuinely quick bowler charging in to bowl with a full head of steam and a roaring crowd urging him on. I loved it when we had 'em in Lillee and Thompson, I loved it less when it was the Windies onslaught out to kill us but was totally enthralled just the same and that thrill was there again with Freddie at Lord's. It's when a batsman looks like he's holding a toothpick to defend himself and the slips cordon is like an inescapeable pack of wily, hungry hyenas. It is simply exciting to watch isn't it? One of the singular joys in this game. That these type of bowlers typically come with a personality to match just makes it all the more fun. Imagine cricket without characters - god it would be like some sort of tournament when all anyone cares about is the cash. I hated losing to England at Lord's but if we were going down to someone, I'm glad it was Freddie. Big Moment - Big Heart - Big Performance.

  • jakaria on July 21, 2009, 5:26 GMT

    Australia Fear flintoff .Whatever their supporters say , it does not matter .Statistics is not the ultimate way to measure a player .

  • manio on July 21, 2009, 5:05 GMT

    freddie nice competitor but not best or better.HE IS THE POOR TEAM'S KAPIL.

  • RajBangalore on July 21, 2009, 4:57 GMT

    Hats off to Flintoff! Terrific bowling.

  • TheDoctor394 on July 21, 2009, 4:54 GMT

    While I would not rate Flintoff on the same page as Ambrose, etc, it is interesting to note Mark Waugh himself said last night that, at his best, Flintoff was right up there with the West Indian pace attack of the eighties.

  • jehan1289 on July 21, 2009, 4:52 GMT

    Currently Flintoff can lift this ashes for England if he continue with that fashion. He give hundred out of hundred to win this Test match. If any one compare to Amborse and Akram that's right because his performance show us he is great guy and England have no option to loose him. Congrats Flintoff and his Team.

  • sshadab on July 21, 2009, 4:51 GMT

    I see quiet a few comments on Freddie being compared to Ambrose and Akram and I would like the readers to read carefully what ponting said, he mentioned that the potency of Freddie's top class spells where on par with Ambrose and Akram. Also Freddie is a bowler worth the hype, he can be compared to a Bollywood superstar. When you see a Superstar on movie screens, you like them because of their fantastic screen presence and the stuff they can do and you only notice them and not the other artists. You also believe that these guys can do superhuman stuffs (even when injured) which other mortals cannot. But a superstar does not always guarantee the movie to be a hit, but if you look back at the hits of these superstars it is worth watching and talking over and over again. The matches where Freddie has an impact are stuffs that will be etched in memory. Freddie you are a true superstar, when you are in the field fans like us will believe the impossible is possible. All the best Freddie.

  • Bennyblack on July 21, 2009, 4:40 GMT

    Im sorry but i dont believe wat i am reading!!! Best since Akram!!! Wat the?? Is everyone forgetting a guy named Glenn Mcgrath whoim which took 563 wickets at 21.... or Alan Donald 330 wickets at 22... or even jaque Kallis he has 258 wickets at 31... Compare this with flintoff 225 wickets at 32 and 2 five wicket hauls?? Best since Akram please!!! You are kidding yourselves!!Oh and just throwing it out there i bet Johnson ends up with a better batting average then freddie!!!! He is not as good as peoplke make out!! you can be as hostile as u like but if u dont take 20 wickets u dont win a test!!! And when u have3 five wicket hauls in 77 tests dont exactly contribute to too many!!! Well bowled today Freddie but people seriously have no idea!!!He is an average all rounder thats it..

  • Joby_George on July 21, 2009, 4:36 GMT

    "Andrew Flintoff "-What a match winner he is. A great cricket all rounder of all times. But I often doubt that England failed to utilize him and his skills. Just look at his test and one day average of 31 and 32 and 3 ad 5 centuries in one day and test respectively. By his caliber, it should have been much more. If he was in an Australian, south African or Indian side, he might have achieved more heights. Anway sad that we cant see him in test after Ashes. A great cricketer.

  • Brockie on July 21, 2009, 2:38 GMT

    Freddie Flintoff. Over-rated? Yes. The guy has the odd good game and acts like a show pony. Look at his test record. Tests are about consistency over a period of time. As a bowler he is average at best. Each test wicket costs him over 32 runs. He has taken 5 wickets in an innings only 3 times in his career. He will not be remembered in my mind as a game breaker, but more of a so so player who did more damage to the game off the field than on it.

  • ezeeau on July 21, 2009, 2:37 GMT

    Rubbish! Flintoff took 3 legitimate wickets in the test. No-balls should not get wickets, nor should dodgy catches. Test cricket requires even-handed umpiring. It was not even-handed to refer the Hauritz catch to the third umpire and fail to do the same with the catch against Hughes. The referral system cannot come too soon.

  • defense on July 21, 2009, 1:22 GMT

    He might be good....he IS good...but comparing him to Ambrose and Akram is a stretch....this guy has only 3 five wkt hauls....only 3....way to less to be bracketed with Ambrose and Akram....I understand batters and aficionados speak of sheer hostility and pace in his bowling spells (and Gambhir rates Flintoff as the most hostile he has faced, for whatever that is worth) but I would not rate him in the same league as Akram, Ambrose, Akhtar, Marshall, Lillee, Botham, Imran et al

  • TheDoctor394 on July 20, 2009, 23:44 GMT

    I've been saying for months leading up to this series that Flintoff is England's best bowler. How some people have managed to bag him as much as they have is beyond me.

  • dsig3 on July 20, 2009, 23:41 GMT

    Rustin, Flintoff only plays this way at home against Australia. After 2005, which in my opinion was the best fast bowling I have ever seen, I thought exactly the same as you. Unfortunately it doesnt quite work like that. Every other time I have seen him he has been ordinary or injured. He should have taken 400 wickets @ 25 but history will remember him as having a couple of extroardinary series in an otherwise dissapointing career. How could England have not got more out of his talent says alot about them.

  • Roachie on July 20, 2009, 23:14 GMT

    Good bowling no denying it. But the dissmisal of haddin there was someone else involved, Collingwood took a well judged catch at slip but where was the old run up to him and hi five and good catch hug from freddie? nah just stand there like usain bolt and soak up the glory like you just came back from the dead. and the last wickets he took were clueless tailenders but he still managed to carry on like he just discovered a cure for cancer! then just go field chewing your gum squinting your eyes like youve won the ashes for england (3 more to go champ) cricket isn't a one man game freddie. strauss should have got man of the match coz lets face it if freddie was off the feild the rest of the bowlers could have cleaned the rest of the tail up in a whole days play.

  • tammimi2010 on July 20, 2009, 22:31 GMT

    It is a pity that the game is going to loose a star like him. I first saw in bowl at Sharjah against Pakistan, he was not this fiery pace, but even back then he had a big heart. I could see a star in making back then.

  • moronosaurus on July 20, 2009, 22:29 GMT

    Lovely performance from Swann and Flintoff. It's good that Fred Flintstone's saving himself for T20s, which is the only form of cricket that really matters.

  • epochery on July 20, 2009, 22:27 GMT

    Flintoff proved the value of having fast and agressive bowlers in the the line up. This is why we need to keep working Harmisson and Mahmood to get thebest out of them and hopefully there are a few youngsters out there to match Flintoff's heart.

  • Ango72b on July 20, 2009, 22:16 GMT

    What a fantastic spell of bowling by Flintoff. One of the best I have seen! As much as I was dissappointed to see the Aussies lose, to see Freddie firing down those balls was just superb. Well done.

  • Crick-3t on July 20, 2009, 20:34 GMT

    I am totally agree with Rustin Best bowler I've seen since Akram. England need him.

  • mohd_shahul on July 20, 2009, 20:33 GMT

    First hats off to Freddie for his fantastic spell but sad that he retires from test cricket. then the australian writer Robert Craddock states that Rudi should retire because he gave few decisions against australia but when some umpires give some wrong decisions that favors australia and the oponent lose then what will he write in his column??? australian cricket is becoming terrible and in coming years they will never dominate in any formats of the cricket... once again congrats team ENGLAND and all the best for upcoming matches ...

  • KingOwl on July 20, 2009, 20:23 GMT

    Let us not get too carried away here. Flintoff is a good all rounder. He is probably a great bloke too. But he is not a great all rounder. His bowling average of over 30 is pretty average, especially for someone who has played most of his cricket in fast bowler friendly wickets. Also, the third 5 wicket haul in his career!!? Give me a break, I thought he would have had a lot more than 3! So, let us please cut down the hype. Statistics don't lie!

  • whoster on July 20, 2009, 20:23 GMT

    How Freddie can keep coming up with Herculean efforts like today is beyond comprehension! I can't think of any bowler from the last thirty years who could sustain such consistent pace and hostility. He'd be pretty useful if it wasn't for his dodgy knee!

  • zonezonezone on July 20, 2009, 20:15 GMT

    Rustin: How can you say Flintoff is the best bowler since Akram? Today was only his 3rd 5 wicket haul in tests!

    As cricket careers are generally based on stats, considering before today he only had 2 x 5wicket hauls, that puts him equal with Shahadat Hossain from Bangladesh with 5 wicket hauls. (Bear in mind Flintoff has played 77 tests and Hossain just 22!)

    And lets just say that his first wicket was a no-ball, and his second bounced in front of "Snakey" Strauss.

    All this, and im not even an Australian supporter!

  • delsub on July 20, 2009, 20:02 GMT

    i dont think flintoff should retire at 31. cricket and esp england needs guys like him. i think he should recuperate for 6 months and come back to test cricket - at least for the important series' anyway.

  • amitgupt2k on July 20, 2009, 19:42 GMT

    Freddie is really cool!!! his presence in the field is what diffentiates between an ordinary England side and a potent one. On current form Freddie is the best bowler

  • pragmatist on July 20, 2009, 19:04 GMT

    Flintoff will be missed -massively. If only he would reconsider his decision to quit... losing him from T20 and ODIs would be so much less painful. He's a true one-off and brings a huge amount to English cricket.

  • cricsand on July 20, 2009, 18:35 GMT

    Who gives a damn about statistics. He's the kind of player you want in your team when he is fit of course. You can clearly see he is playing one or two levels above in terms of effort and performance than he normally would. I have seen very few players in world cricket who have played that way, utilizing every skill they possess and playing out of their skins literally. What a shame he's not going to be around in tests after this!! That is some of the best piece of "fast bowling" I have seen in a long long time. Probably only Shoaib could match it when he was at his prime. What a whole hearted cricketer!! We need more of these world cricket please!! I hope he goes out on a high!!

  • Cricism on July 20, 2009, 18:35 GMT

    @ rustin - best since Akram? is that a joke? agreed that he bowled his his heart out in this match, and against Aus in general, but best since Akram??? check the facts: "only 3 five-fors in 77, Flintoff's first five-for since his 5 for 78 at The Oval against Australia in 2005, a game which England drew to win the series. Since that Test, Flintoff had bowled in 40 innings without taking a five-for, taking only 76 wickets in 24 matches during this period"

  • faisalnoor70 on July 20, 2009, 18:22 GMT

    That is the difference between a great and a very good bowler. Flintoff can become a great bowler and be compared with Ambrose, Walsh and Akram only if he could survive that long as those Greats did, otherwise a short career with a lot of promise doe snot yiled greatness. It makes you very good but not GREAT. To be a great of the game you need to have longevity and consistency. Since the talks of Flintoff retirment is making circles, this means this player does not have longevity and to me he is short of great. The history of Cricket is filled players who showed promise but could not carve greatness out of it. As a bolwer Mohammad Zahid come to mind, who according to brian Lara was the fastest bowler he faced by miles and Shoaib also admitted that he was yard faster than himslef in a match they played together. He was bound for greatness but his fragile body gave in. Akram, Ambrose and Walsh showed that they were the machines to bowl and who could argue with the skills.

  • prudence on July 20, 2009, 18:05 GMT

    While i am not taking away from England's victory i am commenting on the umpiring that was done how can such blatant umpiring be allowed in cricket these days i just hope that not all the people that are against the playing of test cricket dont eventually give up on watching it because these are the things that will eventually flop this aspect of the game.I love test cricket but the umpires are not playing the game fair if they are not sure refer to the third umpire thats what the technology is their for shame on them

  • Docdecoza on July 20, 2009, 18:01 GMT

    "Spirit of cricket", form is temporary class is permanent fits exactly for Freddie. Once again he inspired the English team, this time at the home of cricket. His larger than life attitude will be dearly missed in cricket. Bravo Freddie!!!

  • Shaneblack on July 20, 2009, 17:17 GMT

    Well done Freddie what a way to end your test career at Lords in front of your home crowd well done again boy

  • Nipun on July 20, 2009, 17:02 GMT

    In these ragged days of test cricket,the sight of a free Freddie Flintoff is a sight to enjoy forever.Can't remember a bowler so hostile since Curtly Ambrose;now,that's a whopping,& yet apt comment.He is also showing what a free mind is doing to his batting;looks like those lusty big hits are coming back again.Let's enjoy Freddie heartily in these remaining 3 matches,coz we might have to wait a long,long,long time to see such a force of nature @ full throttle.

  • mike52 on July 20, 2009, 17:00 GMT

    Brillant quote from Flintoff - it's a very simple game really :

    "When I was younger with the new ball I got caught in two minds - whether I should be swinging the ball or just putting it there.

    Now I just try to hold it seam up and whang it - it seems to be working."

  • rustin on July 20, 2009, 16:41 GMT

    Can't believe this man is going to play only 3 more tests. He has bounce, consistent and hostile pace and he can reverse it. Plus he bats! Best bowler I've seen since Akram. England needs him desperately. I don't see any potency in the English attack without this man. Not just his bowling but just his presence. More importantly Test Cricket needs such bowlers.

  • itzanurag on July 20, 2009, 16:40 GMT

    Yes... Flintoff is right up there when his fragile body is in sync with this lion heart! He makes Australians dance to his tune like no one else can.... The cricket world might not realize it... but they will miss him once he is gone. He is a champ.. has always been. Just that his body hasnt supported the ambition of his mind!

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  • itzanurag on July 20, 2009, 16:40 GMT

    Yes... Flintoff is right up there when his fragile body is in sync with this lion heart! He makes Australians dance to his tune like no one else can.... The cricket world might not realize it... but they will miss him once he is gone. He is a champ.. has always been. Just that his body hasnt supported the ambition of his mind!

  • rustin on July 20, 2009, 16:41 GMT

    Can't believe this man is going to play only 3 more tests. He has bounce, consistent and hostile pace and he can reverse it. Plus he bats! Best bowler I've seen since Akram. England needs him desperately. I don't see any potency in the English attack without this man. Not just his bowling but just his presence. More importantly Test Cricket needs such bowlers.

  • mike52 on July 20, 2009, 17:00 GMT

    Brillant quote from Flintoff - it's a very simple game really :

    "When I was younger with the new ball I got caught in two minds - whether I should be swinging the ball or just putting it there.

    Now I just try to hold it seam up and whang it - it seems to be working."

  • Nipun on July 20, 2009, 17:02 GMT

    In these ragged days of test cricket,the sight of a free Freddie Flintoff is a sight to enjoy forever.Can't remember a bowler so hostile since Curtly Ambrose;now,that's a whopping,& yet apt comment.He is also showing what a free mind is doing to his batting;looks like those lusty big hits are coming back again.Let's enjoy Freddie heartily in these remaining 3 matches,coz we might have to wait a long,long,long time to see such a force of nature @ full throttle.

  • Shaneblack on July 20, 2009, 17:17 GMT

    Well done Freddie what a way to end your test career at Lords in front of your home crowd well done again boy

  • Docdecoza on July 20, 2009, 18:01 GMT

    "Spirit of cricket", form is temporary class is permanent fits exactly for Freddie. Once again he inspired the English team, this time at the home of cricket. His larger than life attitude will be dearly missed in cricket. Bravo Freddie!!!

  • prudence on July 20, 2009, 18:05 GMT

    While i am not taking away from England's victory i am commenting on the umpiring that was done how can such blatant umpiring be allowed in cricket these days i just hope that not all the people that are against the playing of test cricket dont eventually give up on watching it because these are the things that will eventually flop this aspect of the game.I love test cricket but the umpires are not playing the game fair if they are not sure refer to the third umpire thats what the technology is their for shame on them

  • faisalnoor70 on July 20, 2009, 18:22 GMT

    That is the difference between a great and a very good bowler. Flintoff can become a great bowler and be compared with Ambrose, Walsh and Akram only if he could survive that long as those Greats did, otherwise a short career with a lot of promise doe snot yiled greatness. It makes you very good but not GREAT. To be a great of the game you need to have longevity and consistency. Since the talks of Flintoff retirment is making circles, this means this player does not have longevity and to me he is short of great. The history of Cricket is filled players who showed promise but could not carve greatness out of it. As a bolwer Mohammad Zahid come to mind, who according to brian Lara was the fastest bowler he faced by miles and Shoaib also admitted that he was yard faster than himslef in a match they played together. He was bound for greatness but his fragile body gave in. Akram, Ambrose and Walsh showed that they were the machines to bowl and who could argue with the skills.

  • Cricism on July 20, 2009, 18:35 GMT

    @ rustin - best since Akram? is that a joke? agreed that he bowled his his heart out in this match, and against Aus in general, but best since Akram??? check the facts: "only 3 five-fors in 77, Flintoff's first five-for since his 5 for 78 at The Oval against Australia in 2005, a game which England drew to win the series. Since that Test, Flintoff had bowled in 40 innings without taking a five-for, taking only 76 wickets in 24 matches during this period"

  • cricsand on July 20, 2009, 18:35 GMT

    Who gives a damn about statistics. He's the kind of player you want in your team when he is fit of course. You can clearly see he is playing one or two levels above in terms of effort and performance than he normally would. I have seen very few players in world cricket who have played that way, utilizing every skill they possess and playing out of their skins literally. What a shame he's not going to be around in tests after this!! That is some of the best piece of "fast bowling" I have seen in a long long time. Probably only Shoaib could match it when he was at his prime. What a whole hearted cricketer!! We need more of these world cricket please!! I hope he goes out on a high!!