Anorak News | Freddie, Steady, Go

Freddie, Steady, Go

by | 8th, September 2003

‘GIVEN England’s record in recent matches against the South African tail, victory today in the final Test at the Oval is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Another blow to the South African heart

But, if the weather holds, all the papers expect the home side to square the five-match series 2-2 after another good day with bat and ball.

Andrew Flintoff showed yet more evidence of his batting prowess with 95 runs, the second half of which came at a rate of almost two a ball.

And the bowlers (aided it must be said by a couple of generous umpiring decisions) then did their stuff in reducing the visitors to 185-6, a lead of only 65.

But it is Flintoff’s mighty hitting (which brought him 12 fours and four sixes) that sticks in the minds of the hacks who were there to witness it.

Mike Selvey, in the Guardian, said the Lancashire giant “offered the sell-out crowd such a display of clean, cudgelling hitting that it invited comparisons”.

“Gilbert Jessop, the Croucher, must have been like this, they said; Ian Botham in his beefy prime certainly was,” he says.

Derek Pringle, in the Telegraph, says Flintoff has pulled it off more consistently this season than Botham ever did, except in his annus mirabilis against the Aussies in 1981.

“In his last 13 Tests, Flintoff has doubled his average from 12.9 to 24.2, though it might have been more had some of yesterday’s sixes been valued on distance,” he says.

As England stand on the brink of Test success, the footballers stand on the brink of qualification for Euro 2004 after a narrow 2-1 win in Macedonia.

The Times is unconvinced by the performance, saying how “it is impossible to decide whether to love or loathe Sven Goran Eriksson’s side”.

After coming back from a goal down in four of their last six competitive fixtures, it does not doubt the team’s character, but it is unsure about its quality.

Macedonia’s forward Artim Sakiri, however, is very sure – England are not good enough.

“We were better than England and should have won,” he said. “They were panicking in the first half and, if they do the same in Turkey, they will have no chance.”

Elsewhere, Andy Roddick won the US Open tennis, the Great British and Irish amateur golfers retained the Walker Cup and Yan Guo beat Jia Liu in table tennis’ Korean Open.’

Posted: 8th, September 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink