England v South Africa 2008 / News

England v South Africa, 4th npower Test, The Oval, 5th day

Flintoff breaks his losing streak

Andrew Miller at The Oval

August 11, 2008

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It was a tough day for Morne Morkel as he struggle to find his line...except to first slip © AFP
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Luck of the day

Andrew Strauss had yet to settle in an arduous first hour, and had inched along to 4 not out from 30 balls when he shuffled across his crease to clip Morne Morkel firmly off his hip ... and straight into the hands of Ashwell Prince at leg gully. It was a perfect plan, perfectly executed - Prince had only moved to that position one delivery earlier - but Morkel's galumphing front foot ruined the moment. He had overstepped by several inches, and as the moment went begging, so too did South Africa's attacking intent.

Single of the day

It was a fairly unremarkable moment, which came 47 minutes into the day's play. Another leg-stump delivery from Morkel, and another deflection off the hip from Strauss - although this time he managed to avoid any fielders. As he and Cook jogged through for a single, however, it was the first time in 66 deliveries that the two batsmen had switched ends. Up until that point they had traded exclusively in boundaries - three for Cook, and a solitary clip through midwicket from Strauss.

Delivery of the day

It wasn't quite as high-profile as the one that Steve Harmison winged down at Brisbane, but the delivery was almost as awful. Bowling around the wicket to the left-handed Cook, Morkel pitched his delivery way outside off stump, found enough swing to take it even further out of the batsman's reach, and Smith at slip cupped his hands to take a screamer high above his head.

Statistic of the day

He is renowned as a matchwinner, but Andrew Flintoff has been anything but in recent matches. In an injury-affected run that dates back to the third Test against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge in June 2006, he had taken part in eight consecutive defeats - including five in a row in that winter's Ashes, and back-to-back reversals at Headingley and Edgbaston in this series.

Shot of the day

It was something of a cathartic moment, therefore, when Flintoff strode down the wicket to Paul Harris with five runs required for victory, and launched him high and handsome towards the pavilion for the 80th six of his 70-match Test career. It was a blow that brought him level with Matthew Hayden in fifth place on the all-time six-hitters' table, and he's now only four adrift of the Master Blaster, Viv Richards, in fourth place, with Brian Lara (88) and Chris Cairns (87) also in his sights. Adam Gilchrist's record of 100 maximums might take a few more years to overhaul, however.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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