England hope Flintoff will play on
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:A Flintoff
Event:Australia in British Isles 2009

DateLine: 4th August 2009


The English team is confident about Andrew Flintoff being fit for the fourth Ashes Test in Leeds despite taunts from Ricky Ponting.


The Australian skipper had said that Flintoff's fitness is "going downhill pretty quickly".


With just three days separating the Monday's drawn contest and the penultimate Ashes Test at Headingley, the 31-year-old will spend the hours resting and icing his injured right knee.


The sensational all-rounder was England's matchwinner with the ball at Lord's, a result which helped the hosts go 1-0 up. He batted well at Birmingham as well and it was he and Matt Prior who made sure England batting did not go downhill in the first innings.


The right-armer though could not follow his 74 with a single wicket, as Australia closed out the final day on 375 for five.


The Lancashire seamer bowled just 11 overs and none in the final session.


"I suppose at the back of my mind I'm conscious that when the conditions aren't really helping him, there's no point in tearing him to death," said England skipper Andrew Strauss.


"That's the reason he didn't bowl in the final session and we're still very optimistic he'll be okay for Headingley.


"There is obviously some soreness there, but I don't think there's anything that has deteriorated massively over the course of the game.


"He needs to rest up well because back-to-back Tests are hard for any bowlers and we'll see how he is on Thursday."


"If he's fit to play then we want to play him and if he's not then we won't," Strauss added.


"The Headingley Test is a massive Test and it's an opportunity because if we win there we win the Ashes and that goes for both the final two games.


"We want to play our best team in every game we play, but we've got to be conscious that if he's not fit enough to do his job then he won't play.


"We've had to play without him plenty of times over the last two years so it wouldn't be anything new to us.


"Generally the bowlers have stepped up when he hasn't played, but at the moment he's in great nick with both ball and bat so we don't want to play without him, if we can help it.


"We will have to swing with the punches we get and if that is the case then I think we've got a good enough squad to be able to deal with that."


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