Angus Fraser: Onions proves there is life after Flintoff

Inside Cricket

The euphoria of England's Test victory at Lord's was quickly followed by the unhealthy and rather alarming assessment that the home sides chances of regaining the Ashes were largely based on the ability of the England medical team to keep Andrew Flintoff fit.

Flintoff was the catalyst behind England's triumph at the home of cricket and Andrew Strauss's chief executioner on the final morning, but in outstanding spells of fast bowling yesterday James Anderson and Graham Onions proved that, in the bowling department at least, England are definitely not a one-man band. With Flintoff retiring from Test cricket in less than a month's time this is excellent news for Strauss and England.

Even the best struggle to perform in every match and it is on these occasions that a team needs other members of the side to make up for an individual's inconsistency. It would have been unrealistic to expect Flintoff to repeat the feats of Lord's, where he took the match-winning figures of 5 for 92 in Australia's second innings. Having announced his intention to retire from Test cricket prior to the second Test, the desire to perform in the next and possibly last match would have been high.

It would have been in Australia's first innings at Edgbaston too, but a sportsman's body does not always react as desired, and Flintoff has been out of sorts at Edgbaston. What a contrast there was between the bowling of England on Friday and Saturday. On the opening day of the third Test, and with only 30 overs to deliver, England's attack was too keen to make the most of helpful conditions. There are times when a bowler tries too hard to impress, and in attempting to capitalise on the situation England's fast bowlers failed to make the Australian batsmen play enough. When Shane Watson and Simon Katich did look to strike the ball it was all too often for four.

On the second morning, and with the ball moving around alarmingly, England's bowlers opted for a simple gameplan – bowl the ball on a good line and length and let the conditions do the rest. It was the right tactic to employ.

In the last two years Anderson has shown everyone what a high class bowler he is, so yesterday's five-wicket haul should not have come as a surprise. When the ball is swinging there are few more dangerous bowlers in the world than Anderson, and he dismissed Graham Manou, bowled, with an absolute beauty.

Anderson's control of swing is a joy to watch, and it completely bamboozled Mitchell Johnson too, who padded up to a ball that would have hit middle stump. The dismissal of Michael Clarke, with a vicious inswinger, wasn't bad either.

But it was Onions who triggered England's response after a disappointing first day by taking wickets with the opening two balls of the day. There were many who felt that Onions should make way for his Durham team-mate, Stephen Harmison, in this Test. His display yesterday should have made those people think again.

Onions does not quite possess the spite and hostility of Harmison but he is a fast bowler that makes things happen. Onions is aggressive and he bowls with good pace. He is constantly at the batsman, who knows that he is in a battle when the lanky seamer has the ball in his hand.

Onions swings the ball too when he pitches it up, as Michael Hussey found out when he left the only ball he faced and watched it knock back off stump. His consistency will increase as he becomes accustomed to Test cricket and he looks set to be around the England set-up for several years to come. Stuart Broad is the only England bowler yet to perform in the series, but his turn may come in Australia's second innings.

Setting a captain's example...

Former Middlesex captains have not always been as generous as Andrew Strauss when the opposition's wicketkeeper has suffered a mishap. There have been greater acts of sportsmanship than that of Strauss, who allowed Australia to replace the broken fingered Brad Haddin with Graham Manou after the toss had been conducted. Strauss, the England captain, could have been hard-nosed about Australia's misfortune and stipulated that Haddin had to play, but it would have appeared rather churlish.

When Middlesex played Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 2001 the Middlesex captain, who shall remain nameless, refused to allow the opposition to field a replacement keeper when Keith Piper, the first-choice Warwickshire gloveman, went down with flu. Michael Powell, the Warwickshire captain, took the gloves, keeping to the likes of Vasbert Drakes and Melvyn Betts. Powell's hands were black and blue after a day in the field and he struggled to grip the bat when batting, scoring four and eleven in the match. Powell seemed reluctant to shake my hand at the end of the match, which Middlesex won. I would like to think it was due to the bruising.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil