Ashes 2nd Test, Day 4: Recurrence of Flintoff's injury adds to problems for England

On the hottest, sunniest day of the Ashes series so far, a dark cloud loomed over England. With the second Test at stake, their captain and talisman, Andrew Flintoff, appeared to suffer a recurrence of his old ankle injury.

He bowled only four overs on the fourth day, which was deeply disturbing given that the tourists had to bowl another 67 before dismissing Australia and were desperate to improve their chances of drawing level at 1-1. The team management conceded that Flintoff had felt discomfort in his troublesome left ankle but immediately played it down.

With the series delicately poised and with England having a genuine opportunity of pursuing victory at the start of the day, it was at the very least unwelcome. At the worst, it could have a disastrous effect on a campaign which has just started to gain impetus.

Duncan Fletcher, England's coach, said: "He felt discomfort and we wanted to make sure everything was all right. He just felt more comfortable with the others bowling.

"To a degree it's the same discomfort that Ashley Giles felt bowling in the nets in India after being out for so long. Andrew's done quite a lot of bowling in back-to-back Tests and the medical team say the best thing is to see how it goes. There are no worries at the moment and we're not even going to send him for a scan."

Since a scan is the first port of call for an injured sportsman seeking treatment, and since Flintoff stayed on the field as Australia closed the gap on the tourists' first innings total of 551 for 6 declared, this was not entirely misleading. As a young professional, Flintoff's back was the cause of serious complaint and he had multiple injections.

The left ankle has been frequently troublesome recently. Early in 2005 he needed surgery but recovered to play a key part in the Ashes series. But his wholehearted method of bowling - his left foot lands hard at the crease and is at a slight angle - led to further trouble in the summer. He missed the whole series against Pakistan for further surgery to remove a bone spur. Only his tremendous powers of recovery and an intensive fitness regime allowed him to return to lead England on this tour.

All is not lost but Flintoff's inaction, whether enforced or voluntary, still represented a bombshell. England must again contest back-to-back Tests in Melbourne and Sydney at Christmas and New Year.

Australia were there to be beaten and instead of Flintoff sharing the burden of the attack, it was left to Matthew Hoggard to shoulder it for the second day in succession.

With Giles managing to play a holding role at one end and back to his favourite over-the-wicket delivery style, Hoggard finished with match figures of 7 for 109. Fletcher paid due tribute to Hoggard's titanic effort on a benign pitch. "His bowling showed the character of the man and he is prepared to run through brick walls for you." The suspicion is that Flintoff may have to do the same.

* The Australia paceman Brett Lee has been fined 25 per cent of his match fee for excessive appealing during the second Test against England in Adelaide. Lee was found to have breached the International Cricket Council's code of conduct which relates to celebrating a dismissal before the decision has been given. The incident took place during the fourth over of the second day's play on Saturday, when Lee thought Kevin Pietersen had been caught behind.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
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