Flintoff to be unleashed for Twenty20

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff has been given permission by the England and Wales Cricket Board to play for Lancashire in the Twenty20 Cup finals day on Saturday.

Andrew Flintoff has been given permission by the England and Wales Cricket Board to play for Lancashire in the Twenty20 Cup finals day on Saturday.

The England all-rounder, who smashed 85 in 45 balls on his Twenty20 Cup debut against Yorkshire in the group stages, has been made available along with the Lancashire fast bowler James Anderson, who is also centrally contracted to England.

Surrey, Lancashire's opponents in the first semi-final at Edgbaston, will however be without the batsman Graham Thorpe, whom England want to rest an Achilles injury before the third Test against the West Indies at Old Trafford. Mark Butcher and Simon Jones are allowed to play for Surrey and Glamorgan respectively as they continue to recover from injury.

The opening batsman Will Jefferson hit a career-best 222 for Essex against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl in the County Championship Second Division.

The Hampshire captain, Shane Warne, decided to bowl first on what turned out to be an easy-paced pitch. His plight worsened when Dimitri Mascarenhas, one of Hampshire's most successful bowlers this season, left the field due to illness after bowling three overs.

Jefferson hit 31 fours, facing 300 balls in almost seven hours. He was dropped twice, both caught-and-bowled chances, off Mascarenhas on 21 and off the seamer Billy Taylor on 137. He was out in the penultimate over, caught at the wicket off Taylor after playing a tired-looking shot.

Warne sent down a mammoth spell of 32 overs of leg-spin to finish with 4 for 118 as Essex were all out for 416 in 103 overs. The paceman James Bruce also chipped in with 3 for 74.

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