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Flintoff's return boosts team ahead of Ashes

England gained a double boost, beating Windies by three wickets and giving captain Andrew Flintoff his first international bowl since June.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2006 21:49 IST

England gained a double boost on Saturday, beating West Indies by three wickets in the Champions Trophy and giving captain Andrew Flintoff his first international bowl since June.

The 28-year-old all rounder looked comfortable as he produced five overs in two spells, returning figures of nought for 27 in a timely bowling appearance ahead of England's Ashes defence in Australia.

Flintoff, who underwent surgery after suffering an ankle injury in June, had not bowled since the home test series against Sri Lanka.

"I was not at full tilt, I was at 80 or 85 percent, but I was pleased with it," Flintoff told a news conference.

"I was confident it would be fine. I had bowled in the nets and it has been fine all trip so I was not surprised.

"But in some ways it is a little bit of a relief as well that I have bowled in a game."

Flintoff was England's most successful bowler when he claimed 24 wickets in last year's 2-1 Ashes victory that ended 18 years of Australian domination in the series. The Lancastrian also scored 402 runs in the five tests.

His bowling will be important in Australia especially as the tourists are without the injured Simon Jones, another bowling hero of the 2005 Ashes.

The first test in Brisbane begins on November 23.

First Published: Oct 29, 2006 21:46 IST