Anderson leads England charge

andersonAustralia’s 75-year unbeaten record at Lord’s is facing its greatest threat, after England’s seamers scythed through the tourists’ top-order on a rain-interrupted second day at Lord’s. James Anderson and Andrew Flintoff bowled with a measure of pace, movement and accuracy that eluded Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle in the preceding innings, and placed England in a position of dominance with Australia still requiring 70 runs to avoid the follow-on.

Focus on fitness to counter hectic schedule – Prasad

PrasadIndia needs its players to focus more on their fitness, employ a sensible rotation policy and use the National Cricket Academy to build a bridge between its reserve pool and the senior team to counter the hectic international schedule that awaits the team from September. That’s the vision of Venkatesh Prasad, India’s bowling coach, who hopes his top players can avoid the kind of burnout that forced Andrew Flintoff off Test cricket.

Flintoff to retire from Test cricket

flintoffAndrew Flintoff has announced that he will retire from Test cricket at the end of this Ashes summer, although he still intends to make himself available for Twenty20 and ODI cricket, and is expected to be fit for tomorrow’s second Test against Australia.

Flintoff, who has missed 25 of England’s last 48 Tests through a variety of injuries, suffered another fitness scare on the eve of the Lord’s Test, when he reported soreness and swelling in the same right knee that required surgery back in April, after he tore his meniscus while playing in the IPL.

Harmison covers injured Flintoff

HarmisonA knee injury to Andrew Flintoff has prompted England selectors to call the in-form Steve Harmison into an expanded 14-man squad for the second Ashes Test at Lord’s. Flintoff complained of right knee soreness and swelling after twisting awkwardly in the field during Australia’s first innings, and will undergo scans on Monday. He is in serious doubt to play at Lord’s from Thursday.

News of Flintoff’s latest injury will come as a major blow to England, who had hoped their marquee all-rounder would repeat his man-of-the-series exploits from the 2005 Ashes series. He began with a flourish in Cardiff, troubling the Australian batsmen with pace and bounce, but his contributions tapered as the match progressed. He finished with figures of 1-128 from 35 overs, and scored of 37 and 26.

Katich and Ponting hold firm against Flintoff

Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting survived a ferocious burst from Andrew Flintoff after the all-rounder had dismissed Phillip Hughes on the second day of the first Ashes Test here on Thursday.

At tea, Ashes holders Australia were 142 for one in reply to England’s 435, a deficit of 293, with left-handed opener Katich 53 not out and captain Ponting 44 not out at Sophia Gardens.

Ponting’s innings meant he’d joined an elite group of batsmen who’d all scored more than 11,000 Test runs in Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and former Australia captain Allan Border.

Strauss confident about England’s chances

straussEngland captain Andrew Strauss has said his team will take the field this summer and go “blow for blow” against Australia. Strauss, whose first Ashes series was his in 2005 when England regained the urn after 18 years, chose not too delve too far back into that epic summer when chalking up the home side’s chances.

Harmison and Panesar await their fate

harmisonThe speed with which England vacated the field at Edgbaston on Friday afternoon revealed plenty about their mindset in the lead-in to next week’s first Test in Cardiff. The time was 5pm on a perfect summer’s afternoon, and the opportunity was there for at least another hour and a half of fine-tuning. However, it was not deemed necessary by England’s think tank, who have seen enough already, and just want to get the proper action underway now.

Strauss warns Flintoff over discipline

straussEngland captain Andrew Strauss has issued a stern warning to Andrew Flintoff after the allrounder was disciplined for missing the team bus during a trip to the World War I trenches in Ypres. Strauss said he would be strong enough to drop Flintoff from England’s Ashes team.

“Fred is always under pressure when he comes back and I feel for him in that respect,” Strauss said. “He’s obviously a big player for us and there’s this circus that goes on around him. He was very aware he had stuffed up, he took it on the chin and apologised to everyone concerned. It was a very sincere apology and we move on.”

Flintoff rapped for missing bus to Ypres

flintoffEngland’s captain, Andrew Strauss, has admitted that timekeeping has become an issue among certain members of the squad, after Andrew Flintoff had to be reprimanded by the ECB for a breach of discipline during the team bonding session in Belgium ahead of the Ashes.

Flintoff failed to make the journey to the trenches near Ypres on Saturday morning after missing the team bus, having attended a private team dinner the night before, and on the eve of England’s warm-up fixture against Warwickshire at Edgbaston, Strauss conceded that the squad had some issues that needed to be ironed out.

England set off for secret bonding session

straussThe 16 players named in England’s preliminary Ashes squad have been told to report for duty in Birmingham tomorrow armed with their passports, as the management prepares to step up the intensity ahead of the first Test in Cardiff on July 8 by organising a team bonding session in a secret overseas location.

An ECB spokesman confirmed that the trip was set to take place, but added that the exact details would remain undisclosed to enable the players to unwind without any cameras or TV crews tracking their movements. “This was something that the players themselves very much wanted to do as a unit,” the spokesman told Cricinfo.