Cow Corner

Freddie in ‘I can bat’ shock

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Well we will just have to wait for The Oval for Andrew Flintoff to bow out of Test cricket with a century.

Freddie has a knack of writing his own scripts but he couldn't quite follow his five-for at Lord's with a long awaited century at Edgbaston.

There was a time when Flintoff could have got in the England side as a batsman alone — but those days have long since passed.

Indeed in recent times he would be struggle to be a 'batting all-rounder' in the Lancashire League.

His demotion to seven in the England batting order for this series was long overdue.

Flintoff had made just one Test fifty in 2 1/2 years before today (but given his track record with injuries you could forgive yourself for thinking that was a pretty good ratio).

Actually just three fifties in his previous 18 Test matches — a 62 in Mohali last December, 89 in Sydney in January 2007 and 51 in Perth earlier in that 5-0 Ashes whitewash — is a pretty woeful return.

But provided he doesn't bat again — and that looks highly unlikely — he can look back at his Test batting at Edgbaston with some pride and an average of exactly 50.

Flintoff's finest Test innings surely must have been the 167 at the Bull Ring against the West Indies five years ago.

He also hit the Aussies for nine sixes a year later, making 68 and 73, and after a tentative start today, played his finest knock in some time.

Driving with alacrity but not wildly, the 88-run partnership he shared with Matt Prior knocked the stuffing out of the Aussies and gives England a glimmer of forcing a result on day five.

It is hard to quite pinpoint why the runs dried up for Flintoff, although watching a video of him getting out about 25 times to a flat footed waft outside off perhaps is the answer.

The very fact that today's 74 was his highest Test score on home soil for four years is a testament to an unfulfilled Test match batting career but certainly in Birmingham, Freddie is the man.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Stuart Broad rattled up his fourth Test fifty from just 62 balls. None of them better than a beautiful straight drive with a minimum of fuss to further annoy Mitchell Johnson.

STAT OF THE DAY: When Flintoff hammered Shane Watson back past his outstretched right hand in his first over, it was his 500th boundary in Test cricket.

USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: james m with some old school comedy: "Why do Aussies ask a question then answer it themselves¬ all in the same sentence???? e.g What's ya favourite¬ colour blue????? And the classic bar chat up: What's your¬ name sheila????? Why ask? Come on England.

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