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Flintoff aiming for final Ashes twist

cricket Updated: Aug 19, 2009 12:07 IST

AFP
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Andrew Flintoff is all set for one last huge effort in Test cricket but England are likely to need much more than a one-man show if they are to recapture the Ashes from Australia in the series climax.

England head into the fifth and final Test in London at the Oval starting on Thursday, with the series all square at 1-1.

But unlike four years ago when, with Flintoff at the peak of his powers, they arrived at the south London ground 2-1 up against Australia, now they must win to regain the Ashes while the tourists need only a draw to retain them.

Top-order batting has been England's major weak spot this series, with only captain Andrew Strauss making a century for the hosts in the four Tests played so far compared to seven individual hundreds for Australia.

Spirited lower-order resistance helped paper over the cracks but England, who ever since Kevin Pietersen was ruled out after the second Test with an Achilles injury, have looked vulnerable to a batting collapse.

And so it proved at Headingley where in the fourth Test, with Flintoff ruled out because of fears the fast bowling all-rounder's suspect right knee would not last the game, England were twice dismissed cheaply.

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