Flintoff the great entertainer seals England series win

England 307-5 India 237 England win by 70 runs

Andrew Flintoff was at his brilliant best again yesterday, striking four huge sixes and nine thunderous fours in a match-winning innings of 99. But it was not the powerful stroke-play of the all-rounder, or that this awesome display took Michael Vaughan's side to a 70-run victory over India, and into an unassailable 2-0 lead in the NatWest Challenge, which highlighted why he has become the most loved England cricketer since Ian Botham.

After guiding his team from the hazardous position of 105-4 to 279 with Paul Collingwood - who scored an equally impressive 79 not out in a record fifth-wicket partnership for England - Flintoff had every right to push the 93rd ball he faced for a single, and collect his third one-day hundred of the summer.

But this option would not have entered Flintoff's head because his huge, hulking 26-year-old body does not contain a selfish bone. Quick runs were all that interested "Freddie" and in an attempt to score them he top edged a humongous heave. The delivery from Ajit Agarkar was intended to land in the top tier of the Lock and Laker Stand but Rahul Dravid, the Indian wicket-keeper, took the steepling catch.

Falling one run short of a personal milestone sends most batsmen apoplectic but Flintoff is not that sort of character. As he made his way from the pitch he had a huge smile on his face. Flintoff knows that he is in the entertainment industry and at this moment in time he is as good as anyone in the business.

England had been in trouble. Marcus Trescothick, Vikram Solanki and 11 ordinary overs of seam bowling from India had allowed the home side to reach 71, and in a desperate attempt to halt the flow of runs Sourav Ganguly asked Harbhajan Singh to bowl. It worked. The spinner bagged Trescothick in his first over and Vaughan in his third.

The dry, abrasive pitch gave Harbhajan spin, and this encouraged the Indian captain to bowl Virender Sehwag, who soon dismissed Andrew Strauss and the dangerous Solanki. With spinning fingers twitching, fielders on their toes, England on 105-4 and a vast proportion of the capacity crowd cheering them on India were suddenly in control.

And they remained so until the 32nd over when Harbhajan finished a wonderful bowling spell of 2-14 in 10 overs. Before, Flintoff would have attempted to dominate rather than see off the main threat - tactics which would have been his downfall. That he pushed the ball into the gaps for singles and treated Harbhajan with respect was another example of growing maturity.

The presence of Collingwood at the other end helped but there was little he could do to becalm Flintoff from this point on. Sehwag was hit twice into the stands for six but his half century had taken 66 balls.

The next 49 runs took just 27 balls, containing four more boundaries and two sixes. The first of these, struck of the hapless Lakshmipathy Balaji, could easily have started the redevelopment of the Pavilion End here, so hard did it crash into the Alec Bedser Stand.

The medium pacer dropped Flintoff at deep square-leg on 80 and, boy, did he regret it - Flintoff smashed him for two fours and a six in an over that conceded 22 runs. The loss of Flintoff, who became the fourth England player to fall on 99 in one-day cricket - Chris Broad, Allan Lamb and Geoff Boycott were the others, and all four took place at the Oval - did not slow the run-rate.

The 18 runs Collingwood and Geraint Jones crashed off the final over allowed England to add 100 to their total in 10 overs.

Carnage like this often affects the fielding side when they come out to bat. Sehwag was trapped plum by Darren Gough but the Ganguly's run-out was straight from an under-13 match. The Indian captain dug out a yorker from Stephen Harmison and called for a legitimate single to mid-off. VVS Laxman was asleep and belatedly answered Ganguly's call. But he ran straight into Ganguly, knocking his bat out of his hand. Ganguly attempted to make his ground but was beaten by a direct hit from Flintoff. He kicked the ground, turnedand looked at his team-mate mouthing something along the lines of "What the **** were you doing there?".

In many ways this moment summed up much of India's cricket in the first two games of this three match series. It was unathletic and disorganised.

Laxman and Mohammad Kaif kept the game alive with a sumptuous partnership of 89 but both fell to Ashley Giles as the tourists attempted to keep up with the run-rate. In between Alex Wharf dismissed Rahul Dravid for the second match in a row and following the departure of these three the game was all but over.

Gough claimed his 197th, 198th and 199th one-day wickets as the Indian tail slogged wildly but a defiant and entertaining last-wicket partnership of 64 prevented the stalwart from becoming the first England bowler to take 200 limited-over wickets.

Their fun was ruined by who else but Flintoff.


India won toss


M E Trescothick c Balaji b Harbhajan Singh 27

51 min, 41 balls, 5 fours

V S Solanki c Dravid b Sehwag 48

91 min, 56 balls, 8 fours

*M P Vaughan c Dravid b Harbhajan Singh 4

17 min, 12 balls, 1 four

A J Strauss c Ganguly b Sehwag 2

9 min, 9 balls

A Flintoff c Dravid b Agarkar 99

112 min, 93 balls, 9 fours, 4 sixes

P D Collingwood not out 79

111 min, 85 balls, 11 fours

ÝG O Jones not out 12

10 min, 6 balls, 1 four, 1 six

Extras (b 1, lb 5, w 28, nb 2, pens 0) 36

Total (5 wkts, 203 min, 50 overs) 307

Fall: 1-71 (Trescothick); 2-93 (Vaughan); 3-98 (Strauss); 4-105 (Solanki); 5-279 (Flintoff).

Did not bat: A F Giles, A G Wharf, D Gough, S J Harmison.

Bowling: Pathan 10-1-58-0 (w4) (5-1-29-0, 2-0-13-0, 3-0-16-0); Balaji 8-0-77-0 (nb1,w18) (2-0-8-0, 3-0-27-0, 3-0-42-0); Agarkar 6-0-60-1 (nb1,w2) (3-0-25-0, 1-0-12-0, 2-0-23-1); Harbhajan Singh 10-2-14-2 (one spell); Sehwag 10-0-51-2 (w2) (7-0-29-2, 1-0-4-0, 2-0-18-0); Gavaskar 3-0-18-0 (w2); Yuvraj Singh 3-0-23-0 (one spell each).

Progress: 50: 36 min, 49 balls. 15 overs: 93-1. 100: 84 min, 110 balls. 150: 134 min, 203 balls. 200: 158 min, 237 balls. 250: 181 min, 272 balls. 300: 201 min, 299 balls.

Flintoff 50: 79min, 66 balls, 5 fours, 2 sixes.

Collingwood 50: 74min, 62 balls, 8 fours.


*S C Ganguly run out (Flintoff) 7

15 min, 10 balls, 1 four

V Sehwag lbw b Gough 0

1 min, 2 balls

V V S Laxman c Collingwood b Giles 33

82 min, 43 balls, 5 fours

Mohammad Kaif c Vaughan b Giles 51

94 min, 73 balls, 8 fours

ÝR S Dravid c Jones b Wharf 1

10 min, 8 balls

Yuvraj Singh c Vaughan b Gough 24

50 min, 40 balls, 2 fours

R S Gavaskar b Giles 13

17 min, 17 balls, 2 fours

A B Agarkar c Trescothick b Gough 22

28 min, 20 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes

I K Pathan c Vaughan b Gough 0

2 min, 2 balls

Harbhajan Singh not out 41

49 min, 39 balls, 5 fours, 1 six

L Balaji b Flintoff 18

41 min, 30 balls, 1 four

Extras (lb 11, w 11, nb 5,) 27

Total (199 min, 46.3 overs) 237

Fall: 1-2 (Sehwag), 2-10 (Ganguly), 3-99 (Laxman), 4-102 (Dravid), 5-113 (Mohammad Kaif), 6-143 (Gavaskar), 7-169 (Yuvraj Singh), 8-169 (Pathan), 9-173 (Agarkar), 10-237 (Balaji).

Bowling: Gough 10-0-50-4 (nb2,w3) (5-0-24-1, 5-0-26-3); Harmison 8-0-51-0 (nb1,w7) (5-0-31-0, 3-0-20-0); Flintoff 7.3-1-31-1 (nb1,w1) (4-0-23-0, 2-1-1-0, 1.3-0-7-1); Wharf 6-0-36-1 (nb1) (1-0-13-0, 3-0-10-1, 2-0-13-0); Giles 10-1-26-3; Vaughan 5-0-32-0 (one spell each).

Progress: 50: 48 min, 61 balls. 15 overs: 82-2. 100: 89 min, 114 balls. 150: 135 min, 194 balls. 200: 177 min, 249 balls.

Mohammad Kaif 50: 90 min, 68 balls, 8 fours.


Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and M R Benson (Eng).

TV replay umpire: N J Llong (Eng).

Match referee: M J Procter.


Record fifth wicket partnerships in one-day game:

223 M Azharuddin & A D Jadeja; India v Sri Lanka, Colombo, 17 August 1997.

186* G W Flower & M W Goodwin; Zimbabwe v West Indies, Chester-le-Street, 16 July 2000.

183* J H Kallis & J N Rhodes; South Africa v Pakistan, Kingsmead, 3 April 1998.

174 P D Collingwood & A Flintoff; England v India, The Oval, 3 September 2004.

172* M G Bevan & D S Lehmann; Australia v West Indies, Grenada, 14 April 1999.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
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

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments