Flintoff's fireworks blaze England trail

Bangladesh 182 England 185-3 England win by seven wkts
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The Independent Online

Bangladesh should have had Andrew Flintoff out before he finished them off for the third time in a row with two consecutive sixes straight down the ground yesterday.

On 29, the Lancashire all-rounder missed a sweep at the left-arm spin of Manjural Islam and dragged his right foot out of the crease. Television replays suggested that Flintoff failed to get his toe behind the line before Khaled Mashud took off the bails. The decision went to the third umpire who gave him not out. Obviously, he was as keen to get this one-day international over with as the rest of us here at the Bangabandhu Stadium.

Though most of the cricket played in this one-sided series has been eminently forgettable, Bangladesh will be a venue that brings back fond memories for Flintoff. In the three one-day games England played in this country, the 25-year-old has been awesome and won almost every award on offer.

In fact the only prize he failed to win was a four-stroke, three-wheeled scooter which was donated by a local garage. This award, however, was always going to be out of Flintoff's reach because only the Bangladesh players were eligible to win it. This did not appear to upset Flintoff. Though nice, the vehicle would not have been the coolest thing to be seen driving around Manchester on.

It was apt that England's first tour of Bangladesh should be finished in such style because it was Flintoff who made the biggest impression, even though he missed the Test series with a groin injury. Stephen Harmison and Richard Johnson ensured England did not embarrass themselves against the weakest Test team in the world, but it is one-day cricket that the fans love in this corner of south-east Asia.

Flintoff batted in each of England's limited-overs games in Bangladesh and the home side failed to dismiss him once. In these matches he scored three half-centuries and plundered 177 runs off only 138 balls.

Under Michael Vaughan England are paying greater attention to fitness than before but it seems wasted on Flintoff. After accumulating 132 - 10 sixes and 22 fours - of his 177 runs in boundaries it appears that running between the wickets is becoming unnecessary.

The first of yesterday's four sixes - a huge slog-sweep off Mohammad Rafique over deep midwicket - would have been special to Flintoff because it took his tally of maximums in one-day cricket for England past that of Ian Botham, who struck 44 during his career.

When the Lancastrian's exploits with the bat are added to the 7 for 63 he took in 29.4 overs with the ball, it should come as no surprise that he won Man-of-the-Match awards in all three games. Flintoff has now won five Man-of-the-Match awards and two Man-of-the-Series awards in his last six one-day games for England. His presence at the crease, with either bat or ball in his powerful hands, has become a reassuring sight for England supporters.

In each match of the series, England have not been in a crisis when Flintoff walked out to bat but they have been in positions from which they have lost games in the past. On each occasion, Flintoff took charge and guided the team home by scoring 65 per cent of the runs.

"Freddie has had a pretty special series," his delighted captain, Vaughan, said at the conclusion of the match. "I have never seen a player dominate a one-day series in such a manner. He is a special player and hopefully he can continue this form in Sri Lanka."

A modest Flintoff said: "I thought I played quite nicely during the summer and after missing the two Tests over here I was itching to get back into the England side. Playing Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] and [Sanath] Jayasuriya on spinning decks in Sri Lanka will be a massive challenge. It is one that I hope I am up to."

FIRED BY FLINTOFF: ENGLAND'S LAST SIX ONE-DAYERS

Andrew Flintoff has been the man of the match in five of England's last six one-day internationals

6 July v ZIMBABWE, NatWest Series (Bristol)
3-13 (2.5 overs), 47 not out (37 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes)
England win by 6 wickets

8 July v SOUTH AFRICA, NatWest Series (Edgbaston)
1-47 (9 overs), 54 (40 balls, 7 fours, 1 six)
England win by 4 wickets

12 July v SOUTH AFRICA, NatWest Series Final (Lord's)
2-18 (6.1 overs), 6 not out (13 balls)
Man of the match: D Gough
England win by 7 wickets

7 November v BANGLADESH, first one-day international (Chittagong)
4-14 (9.4 overs), 55 not out (52 balls, 9 fours, 2 sixes)
England win by 7 wickets

10 November v BANGLADESH, second one-day international (Dhaka)
1-17 (10 overs), 70 not out (47 balls, 9 fours, 4 sixes)
England win by 7 wickets

12 November v BANGLADESH, third one-day international (Dhaka)
2-32 (10 overs), 52 not out (39 balls, 4 sixes, 4 fours)
England win by 7 wickets, win series 3-0

DHAKA SCOREBOARD

Bangladesh won toss

BANGLADESH
Hannan Sarkar run out (Collingwood) 21
Mohammad Moniruzzaman c and b Anderson 1
Habibul Bashar lbw b Clarke 21
Rajin Saleh c Read b Batty 19
Mushfiqur Rahman lbw b Flintoff 36
Alok Kapali b Clarke 2
Khaled Mahmud run out (Anderson-Read TV replay) 11
Khaled Mashud b Flintoff 16
Manjural Islam Rana not out 20
Mohammad Rafique b Kirtley 13
Tapash Baisya c Collingwood b Kirtley 7
Extras (lb2 w11 nb2) 15
Total (49.1 overs, 213 min) 182

Fall: 1-6 (Mohammad Moniruzzaman) 2-35 (Hannan Sarkar) 3-66 (Habibul Bashar) 4-75 (Rajin Saleh) 5-83 (Alok Kapali) 6-103 (Khaled Mahmud) 7-139 (Mushfiqur Rahman) 8-152 (Khaled Mashud) 9-172 (Mohammad Rafique) 10-182 (Tapash Baisya).

Bowling: Anderson 10-2-36-1 (8-2-20-1, 2-0-16-0); Kirtley 9.1-1-33-2 (w5) (6-1-20-0, 2-0-7-0, 1.1-0-6-2); Flintoff 10-3-32-2 (w5) (6-3-7-0, 3-0-21-2, 1-0-4-0); Blackwell 4-0-16-0, Batty 10-0-35-1, Clarke 6-0-28-2 (nb2 w1) (one spell each).

Progress: 15 overs score: 41-2. 50: 84 min, 113 balls. 100: 137 min, 195 balls. 150: 184 min, 263 balls.

ENGLAND
M E Trescothick b Khaled Mahmud 50
V S Solanki c Khaled Mashud b Mushfiqur Rahman 1
M P Vaughan lbw b Mushfiqur Rahman 29
P D Collingwood not out 46
A Flintoff not out 52
Extras (lb3 w3 nb1) 7
Total (for 3, 39.3 overs, 172 min) 185

Fall: 1-5 (Solanki) 2-66 (Vaughan) 3-102 (Trescothick).

Did not bat: R Clarke, I D Blackwell, C M W Read, G J Batty, R J Kirtley, J M Anderson.

Bowling: Tapash Baisya 8-0-41-0 (nb1 w1) (6-0-32-0, 2-0-9-0); Mushfiqur Rahman 10-0-29-2, Khaled Mahmud 10-2-32-1 (one spell each), Manjural Islam Rana 5-0-33-0 (2-0-12-0, 3-0-21-0); Mohammad Rafique 6-0-34-0 (w2) (4-0-23-0, 2-0-11-0); Hannan Sarkar 0.3-0-13-0.

Progress: 50: 60 min, 77 balls. 15 overs score: 65-1. 100: 113 min, 146 balls. 150: 157 min, 214 balls.

Trescothick's 50: 112 min, 67 balls, 5 fours. Flintoff's 50: 57 min, 39 balls, 4 fours, 4 sixes.

Man of the Match/Series: A Flintoff.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) and Mahbubur Rahman (Bangl).

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