Flower highlights Flintoff effect
Watch Andy Flower's exclusive interview with ECBtv by clicking on the above player.
England team director Andy Flower emphasised the importance of the collective belief that man-of-the-match Andrew Flintoff gave the England team at Lord’s.
Flintoff’s scintillating 5-92 in Australia’s second innings ensured a 115-run victory that put the hosts one up with three npower Ashes Tests to play.
England’s win was by no means certain going into the final day after Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin added 185 for the fifth wicket on Sunday.
However, Flintoff immediately broke that partnership before removing tailenders Nathan Hauritz and Peter Siddle to complete his first five-wicket haul in a Lord’s Test.
“It was a sensational performance,” Flower told ECBtv. “To bowl at that pace all game just shows how strong he is and how determined he is.
“I thought one of his biggest contributions to us as a team was the confidence that he handed everyone and the belief that we would take those 10 wickets.”
Australia began day five needing 209 to complete a Test-record run-chase with Clarke on 125 and Haddin 80, both determined to help the tourists make history.
Flintoff, who unlike at Cardiff had taken the ball, continued with a seven-over old cherry and had bowled 10 consecutive overs when Graeme Swann ended Australia’s resistance.
The 31-year-old seamer’s aggressive performance, bowling consistently above 90mph, allowed England to complete an historic first Ashes win at Lord’s in 75 years.
“He realised the importance of it,” Flower, who denied Flintoff posed a problem to captain Andrew Strauss, added. “He realised the contribution he could make.”
“I wouldn’t say that’s difficult to manage. Most captains love bowlers like that and all Strauss had to worry about on that final morning was him injuring himself.”
Flower has already turned his attention to the third Test at Edgbaston, which starts next Thursday, and is keen not to dwell on the Lord’s triumph.
He is determined, however, that England should reproduce the level of performance that salvaged a draw in the the first Test at Cardiff and put them one-up in the second.
“Just as the Cardiff performance didn’t have any real significance for the Lord’s Test, so this Lord’s Test doesn’t mean anything with regards to the Edgbaston Test,” the 41-year-old former Zimbabwe all-rounder stressed.
“We’re going to have to play very well there, we’re going to have to take the initiative early - if we can - and play with the same amount of skill, determination and courage as we did in this last one.”