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.

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum