Flintoff to the fore

India England
Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff hits a six in the final over to bring up his hundred in an 85-ball innings

Andrew Flintoff made a flying start to England's tour of India with an unbeaten century to help his country to a comfortable victory in their opening warm-up match.

The Lancashire all-rounder picked up where he left off from his man-of-the-series displays in England's 4-0 triumph over South Africa in the summer to help the tourists complete a 122-run victory over an inexperienced Mumbai Cricket Association line-up at the Brabourne Stadium.

Flintoff hit an unbeaten 100 off 85 balls including three sixes and 12 fours, helping to add 112 in the final 10 overs and claim his first England century since scoring 102 in the fourth Ashes Test of 2005 at Trent Bridge.

Dropped on seven and 25, Flintoff was also in the thick of the action in the field and stooped low at second slip to claim an early wicket for James Anderson, who is battling to regain his place after missing out for the Stanford showdown in Antigua.

Anderson finished with three wickets to restrict the Mumbai side to 175 for eight and boost his claims for a place in England's starting line-up should they decide to play two spinners in the one-day series.

Left-arm spinner Samit Patel also claimed two wickets with captain Kevin Pietersen using eight different bowlers, including himself, to ensure as many players as possible got a workout in the 12-a-side encounter.

Owais Shah, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood also used the opportunity to spend time at the crease as they build up to the start of the seven-match one-day series in Rajkot next Friday.

Bell made a composed 58 as opener, where he featured for the one-day side last summer, before being stumped advancing down the wicket to off-spinner Vikrant Yeligeti.

Shah was also impressive in scoring 83 off as many balls and only fell five overs before the end when he mistimed a pull straight to midwicket and allowed Collingwood to hit a quickfire 23.

But it was Flintoff who dominated the innings and reached his century with the last of his three sixes having already forced seamer Vinit Sinha to retire from the field after he was hit on the right shoulder taking evasive action to a full-blooded drive.

Just to cap his performance, Flintoff claimed a late wicket in the final two overs to ensure he is in prime form leading into the tough challenge of overcoming India in the next few weeks.

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