England hit by familiar Flintoff fear

Harmison called into Lord's Test squad as back-up after troublesome knee flares up

England's great escape was undermined yesterday by a familiar predicament. Andrew Flintoff may be forced to miss the second Ashes Test at Lord's because of injury. If his probable absence has become a regular refrain, it still threatens seriously to disturb the team's preparations before the match, which starts on Thursday, and their strategy during it.

The doubts surrounding Flintoff, who has swelling and soreness in the knee on which he had surgery only six weeks ago, made it straightforward for the selectors to include Stephen Harmison in a squad of 14. But it allowed no more time to bask in the delight of leaving Cardiff with a draw in the opening match of the series.

For most of the final day Australia were banker winners, having dominated most of the contest. England's performance with both bat and ball was unacceptably limp and only in the game's last knockings, with the last pair at the crease, did they exhibit enough fortitude to resist Australia.

They also refuted, somewhat too sanctimoniously, the allegation they had been guilty of gamesmanship by sending on the 12th man and the physiotherapist to use up time in the last hour. Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "We had to make sure our batsmen knew what the overs situation was. It was very convoluted, very difficult and there were discrepancies on the sidelines, never mind in the middle."

Had Paul Collingwood demonstrated the defective methods and frail temperaments of his colleagues, the non-time wasting would not have been possible. The match would have been over soon after lunch and the Ashes would be on their way again. But Collingwood batted for almost six hours in scoring 74 precious runs.

The revelation of Flintoff's injury came as news to the dressing room as well as the public, although it can hardly have been a surprise to either party. He went for a scan on the knee yesterday and will be monitored in the next two days. Miller said Flintoff had twisted his knee while fielding in Cardiff.

"Harmison is in as cover for Flintoff... although he could have played alongside Freddie in any event," said Miller. "In the end we will have to wait and see what the conditions are like and what kind of format we want the side to have, whether we have an extra batter, or one spinner or no spinners. Harmison is bowling with rhythm – hopefully he can bowl with that rhythm in a Test match."

But with Big Steve selection in the past two seasons has always been made in hope rather than expectation. Miller was rightly but uncharacteristically scathing of England's poor display.

Having paid tribute to the tail-end heroics of James Anderson and Monty Panesar, he said: "We are well aware, however, that we did not perform well in Cardiff over the five days and will need to improve in all areas of our game if we are to overcome what is a strong Australian side. I just think we underperformed generally. They are far better players than they showed us in that match. Our batters have got to put up a better showing."

Collingwood, the hero of the day, remained unexcited, the quality which enabled him to bat for six long hours. "I do love these kind of situations and to be able to get out in the middle and do your bit to help, so I can take a bit of pride in what I did, but at the moment it means nothing."

Casualty list: Flintoff's injury record

*Freddie's injuries

2000

Breaks foot in South Africa. Suffers back injury, breaks nose in Pakistan

2002

Undergoes hernia operation. Leaves Ashes tour early with groin injury

2003

Shoulder injury rules him out of Tests with Zimbabwe and Bangladesh

2005

Flies home from South Africa for

surgery on left ankle

2006

Further surgery on left ankle

2007

Out of Windies Tests with ankle trouble

2008

Misses Test series against New Zealand after suffering side strain

2009

Hip injury ends tour of West Indies. Injures right knee playing in the IPL in South Africa



*Andrew Flintoff has missed 25 of 48 Test matches since England reclaimed the Ashes in September 2005. Of the 23 Tests in which the all-rounder has featured, England have won just three.

.....................P......... W

England since Sept 2005: ......... 48......... 15

With Flintoff in team:......... 23......... 3

Without Flintoff:......... 25......... 12

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test