Flintoff's last-over heroics level series for England

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff last night described England's five-run victory over India as "one of the best games of cricket I've ever played in" after his incredible final over at the Wankhede stadium here enabled England to end the one-day series level at 3-3.

Having already propelled England to a competitive total of 255 with a responsible 40 from 50 balls, Flintoff was then trusted with the final over with India needing 10 runs for victory with two wickets in hand.

He won a race with Anil Kumble to run him out off the fourth ball, and then dismissed the last man Javagal Srinath with a perfect yorker off the next before running to his team-mates twirling his shirt above his head in celebration.

"It was one of the best games of cricket I've ever played in," Flintoff said. "To have it go down to the final over with a big crowd like that was just awesome. Taking my shirt off and running around like that wasn't rehearsed, it was completely instinctive and nothing to do with football because I'm not a big football fan – the footballers who have done it are probably carrying a few less pounds than me anyway."

Nasser Hussain, the England captain, was delighted at the way his team bounced back from their hammering at Kanpur just over a week ago to claim narrow victories in Delhi and here – and he paid particular tribute to Flintoff.

"Fred's got a lot of character," Hussain said. "He's put in a lot of effort off the field in the last year or so and it's now beginning to pay dividends for him.

"Getting a 3-3 draw is not worth going over the top about, but we have just won eight out of the last 11 matches and we are going in the right direction.

"Some of the young lads like Flintoff and Paul Collingwood have really come on during the last few months, our fielding has improved and in tight situations we have improved."

Hussain added: "The great thing is that there are other people who can come back into this squad like Alan Mullally, Mark Ealham and Alec Stewart. They can all come back into this side and there are lots of people pushing for places."

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