England ready to hit back in Ashes Test, says Flintoff
by CricketArchive staff reporter

Player:A Flintoff
Event:England in Australia 2006/07

DateLine: 1st December 2006


Captain Andrew Flintoff is expecting England to bounce back in Friday's second Test here in response to their 277-run hiding by Australia in the opening Ashes match. Flintoff said his players have worked with Test match intensity in the nets this week to prepare themselves for a much-improved performance after they were outplayed for large tracts of the Gabba Test. "We have to perform better and the way we have practised this week has been fantastic," Flintoff told reporters Thursday. "I think everyone realizes we are better than what we did last week and the nets (practice) have been unbelievably competitive. Kevin Pietersen came out of a net yesterday and said it was like batting in a Test match, the bowlers were keen to prove they are better than what they have shown and they made it hard for the batsmen in the nets." The tourists will be boosted by the news that Australian pace spearhead Glenn McGrath is in doubt after picking up a heel injury at the Gabba. Captain Ricky Ponting said McGrath, who needed a painkilling injection to get through the first match, will be assessed on Friday morning. "I won't know more on him until tomorrow morning. Our physio wanted him to have a good long bowl today and see how he pulled up in the morning so it will be tomorrow morning until we know about him," Ponting said. Flintoff would not go as far as to say the Adelaide Test was 'win or bust', but said his team expected to get something out of the game. "Our heads were never going to go down, we've got four Test matches to go," he said. "I don't know if it's win or bust here, we obviously have three after this but we want to get something out of this game." England look likely to play two spinners after coach Duncan Fletcher said he wanted to use Monty Panesar alongside Ashley Giles on the spin-friendly Adelaide Oval, with James Anderson set to drop out. Misfiring paceman Steve Harmison has been working in the nets to recapture the bowling rhythm that deserted him so spectacularly in Brisbane. But he is expected to keep his place. "Harmy has worked unbelievably hard this week, he wants to show he is better than what he was last week," Flintoff said. "He has been coming to the nets early and on his own working with (bowling coach) Kevin Shine to get back to what we know he can do and there's been a massive improvement in his bowling this week. He's desperate to give something to the side and he's quite open about that. You know what you're getting from Harmy, he's tries every time, it might not happen for him but I'm sure a good performance from him is just around the corner." Australia, keen to preserve a balanced team, have shied away from bringing in Stuart MacGill in a tandem leg-spin attack with Shane Warne following the continuing unavailability of injured all-rounder Shane Watson. Warne generally does well in Adelaide, his third most productive ground with 51 wickets in 12 Tests at a 29.20 average. If McGrath does not make it his place will be taken by either Shaun Tait or Mitchell Johnson. England have drawn on the similarities between the start of this series and the last one. McGrath led Australia to a 239-run victory at Lord's in 2005, but after he pulled out on the morning of the second Test at Edgbaston with an ankle injury, the visitors lost the Test and eventually the series. The Adelaide Oval is a high-scoring ground with the Australians amassing 500-plus in three of their last four Tests here with four batsmen scoring double-centuries - West Indies' Brian Lara (226) last year, Justin Langer (215) against New Zealand in 2004 and Ricky Ponting (242) and Indian Rahul Dravid (233) in the 2003 Test loss to India. England last won in Adelaide three tours ago in 1995 when Australia were bowled out for 156 in the fourth innings for Mike Atherton's team to win by 106 runs. England have won eight of 28 Tests in Adelaide with five drawn, and the toss will be important with first use of the pitch expected to offer the most runs. Curator Les Burdett said the Adelaide pitch offers batsmen a chance to play their shots but it will crack through the game.


The teams: Australia (from) - Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Justin Langer, Brett Lee, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Shaun Tait and Shane Warne. England (from) - Andrew Flintoff (captain), Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen, Geraint Jones, Ashley Giles, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, James Anderson and Monty Panesar.


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