England can cope without Flintoff says Strauss

England are confident they have the resources in their squad to go on and win the Ashes even if Andrew Flintoff joins Kevin Pietersen on the casualty list for the remainder of the series.

Having suffered the major blow after the second Test at Lord's of losing star batsman Pietersen, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the npower series following an Achilles operation, England were relieved all-rounder Flintoff was able to play his part in the drawn third Test at Edgbaston.

But for the second successive Test Flintoff finished the match clearly struggling with his troublesome right knee and now faces a race against time to prove his fitness before the fourth Test begins at Headingley on Friday.

The 31-year-old all-rounder has had injections to get him through the last two matches, but England captain Andrew Strauss believes there is the manpower available to maintain their series lead even if Edgbaston does prove to be Flintoff's swansong before his Test retirement.

Asked whether England could win the series without Flintoff, Strauss replied: "Yes, I think we can - we've had to plenty of times over the last two years so it wouldn't be anything new to us.

"Generally the bowlers have stepped up when he hasn't played but at the moment he's in great nick with both ball and bat so we don't want to play without him if we can help it.

"We will have to swing with the punches we get and if that is the case then I think we've got a good enough squad to be able to deal with that.

"He's got to be honest about his body and he has been so far. He's obviously desperate to play in these last two games but I think he realises that if he's not fit then he won't help us."

Even without Pietersen, England were still able to claim a 113-run first-innings lead in Birmingham but, despite their best efforts on the final day, Australia battled to a draw with Michael Clarke claiming his 12th century on his 50th Test appearance.

Flintoff bowled only 11 overs during the day and none at all in the final session, but Strauss denied he was attempting to manage his injury to ensure his involvement at Headingley.

"I suppose at the back of my mind I'm conscious that, when the conditions aren't really helping him, there's no point in tearing him to death and that's the reason he didn't bowl in the final session," explained Strauss.

"We're still very optimistic he'll be okay for Headingley. There is obviously some soreness there. I don't think there's anything that's deteriorated massively over the course of the game, but he needs to rest up well because back-to-back Tests are hard for any bowlers and we'll see how he is on Thursday."

England are due to announce their squad for Headingley this afternoon and may also have to check on the fitness of Durham seamer Steve Harmison, who has been included in the last two Tests without making the starting line-up.

Harmison suffered blistered feet during Durham's championship victory over Sussex at Chester-le-Street but coach Geoff Cook believes he will be fit enough to feature at Headingley if required.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style