Week of rest for limping Pietersen
England's euphoria at taking a 1-0 lead with three Ashes Tests remaining has been tempered slightly by the ongoing fitness concerns surrounding Kevin Pietersen, who cut a disconsolate figure throughout the Lord's Test and was clearly troubled by the Achilles injury that has been undermining his season.
With a ten-day break before the teams reconvene at Edgbaston for the third Test, England's captain, Andrew Strauss, said that Pietersen would be advised to do as little as possible in the interim, to make sure he was fully rested and ready for the contest.
"He'll have a week off to rest, and then the medical staff will review it in a few days' time," said Strauss. "It was obviously hurting him, so the medical staff will have to see how he reacts to a few days' rest and recuperation, but it's going to be feet up in front of the TV more than anything.
"The important thing for us, going forward, is the 11 we choose for the Edgbaston Test, we've got to be certain that they'll get through the game, and that's what the medical staff are going to have to guide us on."
Writing in his News of the World column midway through the Test, Pietersen admitted that the Achilles injury had been playing on his mind "all day and every day". He required four injections just to get him fit for the Lord's Test, in which he made a laboured 44 from 101 balls to help set up England's fourth-morning declaration.
"People who have had injuries know that it definitely does affect the way they play," said Pietersen, who left the field for treatment for 11 overs on Friday. "It doesn't really affect my strokeplay but running between wickets and diving around is problematic. This is the first injury I have had and, mentally, they really do get to you."
Of far greater encouragement was the performance of Andrew Flintoff, who entered the game amid rumours that his dodgy right knee might force him to bow out immediately after the Lord's Test. Instead, he turned in a Man-of-the-Match performance with second-innings figures of 5 for 92, including ten high-octane overs straight off the reel on the decisive final morning.
"Apart from a few twinges and aches and pains, my body's standing up to it and I feel strong," said Flintoff. "It's similar to what Straussy said about Kev, I'll rest up this week, keep ticking over with my rehab and I'll go join Dave [Roberts, physio] again up north, and prepare myself for a Test match at Edgbaston.
"Speaking to the medical staff, they're not going to put me in any positions that I shouldn't be in, and we're all confident. I'd do anything to get on the field and finish the series."
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo