England 200-5 India: Flintoff to take charge for one-day series

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff is to be named as England's captain for the seven one-day internationals against India that follow the Test series, after it emerged that Marcus Trescothick is highly unlikely to return to the tour. Trescothick, England's unofficial vice-captain, left India in tears two weeks ago and his personal problems are reported to be no closer to abating than when he departed.

Flintoff, in the absence of Michael Vaughan and Trescothick, is captaining England in the Test series, though his leadership skills were not tested on the second day of the second Test yesterday, which was ruined by bad light and heavy rain. In the 14.3 overs that were possible England added 37 runs to their overnight score of 163 for 4 for the loss of Paul Collingwood. Flintoff scored 22 of those runs to finish unbeaten on 26. Inclement weather is forecast for the remainder of the Test and the draw now looks the most likely result.

The final Test starts in Bombay in a week's time and a drawn series would be an excellent result for England, considering the problems they have had on the tour. With this in mind Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, will tell his side not to become complacent. "There's still a lot of cricket left if the weather stays away over the next three days," he said. "We've got to make sure we don't think the draw is on the cards. Whoever gets on top on day three will hold quite an advantage. We have lost too many wickets - 200 for 2 would have been a very good score. We have to get well over 300 and look to go on from there."

If England are to reach Fletcher's goal they are going to need a healthy score from Flintoff, who looked in fine form during the hour of play that was possible, striking Munaf Patel down the ground for two boundaries. He had one slice of good fortune, when he chipped Anil Kumble just wide of Harbhajan Singh at mid-on, but otherwise he was in little trouble.

Kumble earlier moved closer to becoming the fifth bowler to take 500 Test wickets when he bowled Collingwood with a beautiful leg-break. The batsman, who became Kumble's 498th victim, seemed to have done little wrong when he pushed forward but the ball turned past his bat and clipped the top of off stump.

Trescothick is not the only member of the original 16 man one-day squad to pull out. Vaughan, Simon Jones and Ashley Giles are all recovering from surgery and are not expected to be named in a revised party to be announced today. England usually select 14 or 15 players for a one-day series but a tough schedule - the seven games are at different venues over 18 days - will see 16 men selected. The replacements will come from the England A side on tour in the West Indies.

Owais Shah has flown to India as batting cover for the Tests and he can expect to stay for the one-dayers. Vikram Solanki, Gareth Batty and Sajid Mahmood will join up when the A tour finishes on 19 March.

Police have begun an inquiry after two men managed to film the inside of the England dressing-room on the Test's first day. They were apprehended and handed to the authorities.

* Muttiah Muralitharan took his 600th Test wicket to ease Sri Lanka towards a 2-0 series win over Bangladesh in Bogra yesterday. Sri Lanka bowled Bangladesh out for 201 in their second innings before reaching 77 for 0. They need 43 runs for victory today. Murali, in his 101st Test, joined Shane Warne, who has 659 wickets, as the only players to reach 600 when he had Khaled Mashud caught at square leg.

Weather watch

* There is more rainfall forecast for the weekend with heavy downpours predicted for today and lighter showers for tomorrow, increasing the chances of the second Test petering out into a draw.

Scoreboard from Mohali

England won toss

England - First Innings

(Overnight: 163 for 4)

P D Collingwood b Kumble 25

104 min, 77 balls, 3 fours

*A Flintoff not out 26

76 min, 45 balls, 6 fours

ÝG O Jones not out 7

29 min, 20 balls, 1 four

Extras (lb1, w0, nb4) 5

Total (for 5, 271 min, 65 overs) 200

Fall (cont): 5-180 (Collingwood).

To bat: L E Plunkett, M J Hoggard, S J Harmison, M S Panesar.

Bowling: Pathan 19-4-63-2 (nb1) (8-2-23-2, 4-0-19-0, 4-1-12-0, 3-1-9-0); Patel 16-1-59-1 (nb3) (3-0-13-0, 5-0-23-0, 8-1-23-1); Harbhajan Singh 6-0-15-0 (5-0-14-0, 1-0-1-0); Chawla 5-1-20-0, Kumble 19-6-42-2 (one spell each).

Progress: (9.30am start, min 98 overs): 200: 261 min, 64 overs. BLSP: 10.36am.

India: W Jaffer, V Sehwag, *R S Dravid, S R Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, ÝM S Dhoni, I K Pathan, A Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, M M Patel, P Chawla.

Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and S J A Taufel (Aus).

TV replay umpire: A V Jayaprakash.

Match referee: R S Madugalle.