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

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
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

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup