Flintoff welcomed back at seven while England sweat over Sidebottom

Andrew Flintoff will make his much-awaited Test comeback at Headingley this morning but the England selectors appear to have accepted that his days as a world-class all-rounder are probably a thing of the past. After happily announcing that Flintoff's 18-month injury exile from the side was to end, Michael Vaughan, the England captain, said that the 2005 Ashes hero would now bat at seven in the second Test against South Africa, not six, the position where he built his reputation.

Flintoff's place in the batting order would have put a bit of a dampener on his delight at being recalled and it was the most positive piece of news to come out of the England camp on a day when injury scares threw their preparations into disarray. Ryan Sidebottom and James Anderson carried a huge workload in the drawn first Test at Lord's, sharing 102 overs, and are both doubtful with stiff backs.

As cover England have called up Chris Tremlett and Nottinghamshire's Darren Pattinson, a Grimsby-born former roofer who has played just 11 first-class matches. Pattinson was born in England but he is a product of the Australian system, having spent the past 23 years in the country.

The 29 year-old fast bowler is a latecomer to first-class cricket, making his debut for Victoria in January 2007 – three weeks after Flintoff played his last Test for England against Australia at Sydney. In his first season with Nottinghamshire he has performed superbly, taking 29 County Championship wickets at an average of 21 in six matches. His potential was recognised a fortnight ago when he was the surprise selection in England's 30-man Champions Trophy squad.

Before driving to Leeds, Pattinson said: "It's been an incredible couple of months and to have the chance to play Test cricket for England would be the ultimate honour."

The call-up is wonderful news for Pattinson, a strongly built, away-swing bowler, but it is a kick in the groin for Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison and Simon Jones, each of whom would have hoped and expected to be in the England mix when situations like this arise. Hoggard would be the most disappointed. Headingley is his home ground and a venue that gives assistance to his type of bowling.

England are optimistic that Anderson will be fit but Vaughan was at best hopeful about Sidebottom's chances. The injury concerns mean that England are likely to pick four fast bowlers and Monty Panesar this morning, a strategy which would result in Paul Collingwood's run of 33 consecutive Test appearances coming to an end.

That is tough on Collingwood, but selecting three seamers would be a risky tactic, especially when the captain is uncertain about the durability and experience of a couple of his charges. Tremlett was picked as cover ahead of Pattinson but the selectors do not seem totally convinced of his character, leaving the Notts man with an excellent chance of replacing Sidebottom.

"I really hope Ryan comes through," said Vaughan, who will captain England for the 50th time in Tests today. "He is a key bowler for us, particularly here where the ball swings around. If he is not right he will be missed by our attack because of the options he offers. He has been a revelation for us in the last year and when he is fully fit he gets that snappy swing that makes him so effective. But he needs to be confident in his body to do this.

"It is a huge honour to captain England 50 times," Vaughan added, "but you only reach that achievement by having good players, good management and winning games. I am lucky to have had a few of each."

Playing five bowlers and batting Flintoff at seven would place extra pressure on England's top five batsmen, as well as Tim Ambrose coming in at six. In Ambrose, Flintoff and Stuart Broad, England have three No 7s and they will be hoping to accumulate 80-100 runs between them. The decision puts Ambrose's batting in the spotlight and if he is to keep Sussex's Matthew Prior out of the side, he will need to score runs here.

Despite his poor batting form, Flintoff still views himself as a batsman who bowls a bit and wants to be looked upon as a swashbuckling No 6 capable of playing match-winning innings. But the demotion to seven suggests that he needs to produce something special with the bat to change the outlook of the selectors.

"I have always seen Andrew more as a No 7," Vaughan said. "I think his style of play is very much suited to that position. He is very attacking and given the opportunity he can take the game away from the opposition from that position. He is comfortable playing there and it takes some of the pressure off him and hopefully that will allow him to go out there and express himself.

"If Ambrose ends up batting a t six I am confident he can score runs there. Sometimes players need someone to show faith in them to go on and get that big score. He's done that before in New Zealand and only two Test innings ago he got a really good 70 against them."

South Africa have an injury concern themselves and will wait until this morning before deciding whether Neil McKenzie's groin strain has eased. Jean-Paul Duminy is on stand-by.

Possible Teams: England: M P Vaughan (Yorkshire, capt), A N Cook (Essex), A J Strauss (Middlesex), K P Pietersen (Hampshire), I R Bell (Warwickshire), T R Ambrose (Warwickshire, wkt), A Flintoff (Lancashire), S C Broad (Nott'mshire), J M Anderson (Lancashire), M S Panesar (Northamptonshire), D Pattinson (Nott'mshire).

South Africa: G C Smith (capt), N D McKenzie, H M Amla, J H Kallis, A G Prince, A B de Villiers, M V Boucher (wkt), M Morkel, P L Harris, D W Steyn, M Ntini.

Easing up: How Headingley's Test terrors have been tamed

Headingley is a venue that has historically helped fast bowers, but that reputation has changed in recent times. In the last two Tests here, against West Indies in May last year and versus Pakistan in August 2006, seven hundreds have been scored and just one five-wicket haul taken – by Pakistan's Umar Gul.

1980 - 1989

Tests 10

Average score per wicket 30.08

Average runs per Test 929.6

Team scores over 400 4

Highest team score 601-7

(Australia v England, 1989)

Centuries scored: 11

Five-wicket hauls: 17

1990 – 1999

Tests 8

Average score per wicket 31.56

Average runs per Test 994.25

Team scores over 400 6

Highest team score 653-4

(Australia v England, 1993)

Centuries scored: 15

Five-wicket hauls: 13

2000 – 2007

Tests 7

Average score per wicket 34.38

Average runs per Test 1,105.4

Team scores over 400 7

Highest team score 628-8

(India v England, 2002)

Centuries scored: 17

Five-wicket hauls: 6

Weather

Sunny spells with showers expected, south-westerly breeze. Maximum temperature 16C

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voicesBryony Beynon: This is something every woman can relate to
Arts and Entertainment
film

News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Arts and Entertainment
Steven, Ella Jade and Sarah in the boardroom
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is reported to be in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange for Marvel although the casting has not yet been confirmed
film
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Life and Style
fashion

World Beard and Moustache Championships held last week

News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Copycat culture: the Chateau Zhang Laffitte in China, top, and the building which inspired it, in Paris, bottom
architectureReplicas of Western landmarks are springing up in unlikely places
Sport
Rolando Aarons watches as his effort finds the corner of the Manchester City goal to give Newcastle the lead
footballManchester City 0 Newcastle 2: Holders crash out on home turf
News
i100
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

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain