Monday 20 July 2009

Flintoff touches greatness

Day 5 - Close
England win by 115 runs

In a contest between evenly matched teams, results can be determined by the briefest moments. The first hour this morning was one of those defining periods.

With England’s jitters and Clarke’s belief, you felt that between Australia and the history books stood only the new-ball spell from Andrew Flintoff. Having announced his retirement from an unfulfilled career, the pressure was on body and mind to demonstrate they could rise to these occasions.

Duly, they did. It’s only the great players who possess the ineffable ability to claim crucial moments as their own. Shane Warne, for instance, could turn entire series with the sheer strength of his personality. Today Flintoff touched that greatness once more as he bowled England to a one-nil lead.

It was a sight to cherish - the appalling state of Test pitches coupled with an unrelenting schedule threaten to kill off express-pace bowling altogether. Yet Flintoff, a high calibre casualty, produced one of the great hostile spells. Running on one-knee and buckets of adrenalin he took three wickets bowling unchanged for 13 searing overs. Again he dared to go full and again he was rewarded.

Few get the privilege of leaving top-level sport on a high, and Flintoff still has three games to go. But victory, the man-of-the-match and the Lord’s honours board is quite a way to launch the farewell.

1 comment:

Valerio said...

Outstanding summary of the events. What a tonic it was to see a sensational, focussed spell of hostile, accurate, well-planned, thought out and superbly executed fast bowling. Great to see Clarke struggling against the short ball and not being too keen to get in line. Also wonderful to see Hauritz and Siddle have their stumps demolished. I hate seeing these types of tailenders cover driving and flicking off their pads for boundaries. Better to send them packing as quickly as possible. It was Test cricket at its best. Message to cricket administrators if you have ears, this is what Test cricket needs.