Flintoff's game transformed by furious assault

Lancashire 196 & 377 Worcs 306 & 58-2

For 27 minutes an expectant crowd sat wondering where Andrew Flintoff's next run would come from. The England all-rounder looked in terrible touch as he attempted to atone for his five-ball duck in Lancashire's first innings. The nerves that caused him to play at a delivery he could have left alone were still present, and Chaminda Vaas was unfortunate not to find the outside edge of his bat when he wafted loosely at the second and third balls he faced from the Sri Lankan fast bowler.

For 27 minutes an expectant crowd sat wondering where Andrew Flintoff's next run would come from. The England all-rounder looked in terrible touch as he attempted to atone for his five-ball duck in Lancashire's first innings. The nerves that caused him to play at a delivery he could have left alone were still present, and Chaminda Vaas was unfortunate not to find the outside edge of his bat when he wafted loosely at the second and third balls he faced from the Sri Lankan fast bowler.

It took Flintoff a further 12 deliveries to get off the mark, and at the time Worcestershire would have been expecting to complete a comfortable victory. But these aspirations disappeared during an enthralling afternoon. Flintoff and Stuart Law each scored 83 and Dominic Cork posted a vital 57 as Lancashire turned a first-innings deficit of 110 into a target of 268.

Worcestershire lost two early wickets before the close and this see-saw Second Division match looks set for a thrilling final day.

The task of Vikram Solanki, the Worcestershire captain, was not helped by illness and injury depleting his bowling resources. Tonsillitis forced Kabir Ali off the field after a six-over opening burst, and David Wigley spent the day sat on the dressing-room balcony nursing a right knuckle, broken by an accidental beamer from James Anderson on Thursday. This forced Solanki to give Gareth Batty an early bowl but his decision to use the off-spinner at an end where the long-on and deep mid-wicket boundaries were nothing more than a gentle sand wedge away, was either very brave or extremely foolish.

Flintoff hit Batty's first ball back over the bowlers head and into the New Road Stand for six. In the England off-spinner's next over Flintoff drove him through the covers for four before violently pulling him on to the pavilion roof. In the final over of this ill-advised experiment, consecutive balls were sent to similar parts of the ground. Batty was taken off, having conceded 31 runs in three overs.

By the end of these explosive 15 minutes Flintoff was transformed. With his confidence returned and his feet moving with purpose the ball began making a sweet, deep thud when it hit the middle of his bat. In an attempt to retrieve the situation Solanki rotated his bowlers, but it made little difference. Flintoff's half-century came up off the 67th ball he faced when he edged a four to third man.

Stuart Law is rarely upstaged with a bat in his hand, but on this occasion the Australian was quite content to sit back and admire the view. Law is a beautiful player to watch and his innings contained several sumptuous drives along with a couple of effortless flicks through mid-wicket.

In two hours this destructive brace of right-handers had put on 139 runs and a desperate Solanki was forced to turn to the part-time medium pace of Stephen Moore. With only three first-class wickets to his name Moore would have been fearing the worst as he ran into bowl, but his fifth ball found the edge of Flintoff's bat and settled in the gloves of Jamie Pipe.

Lancashire lost Kyle Hogg and Law but as Vaas and Matt Mason - Worcestershire's two fit seamers - tired the visitors' lower order prospered. Dominic Cork batted brazenly while Warren Hegg and Sajid Mahmood chipped in with useful scores. The 113 runs Lancashire's last four wickets mustered could prove crucial.

* A devastating day's work from James Ormond ripped the heart out of Glamorgan's batting order in Cardiff, giving Surrey a target of 74 runs today - with just three wickets down - to win. The medium-fast right-armer took a seven-wicket haul for 63 runs in 18.4 overs as Glamorgan crumbled to a second-innings total of 173. Only the wicketkeeper Mark Wallace offered real resistance, with a stubborn 55 off 103 balls, though Alex Wharf did his bit with 34 off 76 balls.

Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines