Lancashire 255 for 9 (Sutcliffe 54, Sutton 51) beat Essex 192 (Hogg 4-29) by 63 runs

Welcome back ... Andrew Flintoff strides out to bat © arabian
Andrew Flintoff registered another step on the road to recovery with a well-crafted innings of 39 to help Lancashire to a 63-run victory over Essex in the PRO-Arch Trophy in Sharjah.

Flintoff didn't bowl in the match (he did work through a 15-minute session on the outfield at the end of play) but he is expected to for the first time since his fourth ankle operation in one of Lancashire's remaining games, against either Sussex or Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi. At the crease, he played with balance and confidence in a 51-ball innings that was ended when Ryan ten Doeschate jagged one back through the gate to disturb his off stump.

Flintoff's was one of many starts achieved by Lancashire batsmen but none were transformed into knocks of substance. Iain Sutcliffe set the ball rolling with a run-a-ball 54 and Luke Sutton knitted the latter part of the innings together, ending on 51 not out. In between times, the Essex attack had dragged back the momentum, James Middlebrook (3 for 30) asserting control and both Ravi Bopara and ten Doeschate chipping in with two wickets each.

It looked like being a match-winning effort too when former Lancashire opener Jason Gallian (32) teamed up with Mark Pettini (29) for a first wicket partnership of 57 but Gallian's departure to legspinner Simon Marshall opened the floodgates and Kyle Hogg ripped through the middle order.

Hogg - whose 2007 summer was punctuated by loan spells with Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire - had both Ravi Bopara and James Foster caught behind in the 13th over to paralyse the run chase and only ten Doeschate offered sustained resistance thereafter, top scoring with 33.

Fittingly, Man of the Match Hogg finished things off by having Alex Tudor caught brilliantly by Flintoff at long-off to return figures of 4 for 29 from his eight overs.