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Pietersen's absence will add pressure on Flintoff: Ponting

cricket Updated: Jul 27, 2009 19:33 IST

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Australian skipper Ricky Ponting feels England's star batsman Kevin Pietersen's absence will add more pressure on the Lord's Test hero Andrew Flintoff.

Ponting believes his team had Pietersen's measure during the first two Tests of the ongoing Ashes series but wonders how England will cope without their batting star now he has been ruled out of the series following Achilles tendon surgery.

"If you look at the way we've bowled to him and the way he's played, he's been one of the England batsmen we've been able to put the most pressure on," Ponting was quoted as saying in Daily Telegraph. "Ben Hilfenhaus, in particular, has bowled beautifully to him."

"But he is a massive loss. He's such an X-factor in their side, the way he can score quickly and the ability he has to put the bowlers on the backfoot by putting extra pressure on them.

"I think Pietersen does leave a pretty big hole in their batting. For us, it will be a real positive. It probably puts a bit more pressure back on Flintoff to perform. He has to stand up big time now," he said.

Ponting also wonders how the inconsistent Ian Bell will feel trying to fill Pietersen's enormous shoes.

"Now England have a much more sound, technically correct, but scratchy player like Bell, if we happen to get him in at the right time he's a pretty nervous sort of bloke as well," Ponting said.