Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Cricket:Strauss wary of Flintoff burden

Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston: England v AustraliaDates: Thursday, 30 July to Monday, 3 August Start time: 1100 BSTCoverage: Live Test Match Special commentary (from 1025 BST on day one, 1045 BST on remaining days) on BBC Radio 4 LW, 5 Live sports extra, the Red Button and BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobile phones. Also live on Sky Sports.

England captain Andrew Strauss says he will monitor the number of overs bowled by Andrew Flintoff in the third Test against Australia at Edgbaston.
Flintoff's 5-92 inspired England to victory in the second Test at Lord's.
The all-rounder, who announced he will quit Test cricket at the end of the Ashes because of a knee problem, is expected to be passed fit for Thursday.
"It's always at the back of my mind that I shouldn't bowl him if I don't have to," said Strauss.
"If he's passed fit to play, then he'll be able to perform a role for the whole game. But there will be times when it will be important to hold him back.
"If he's looking threatening and he's bowling a spell that could be a turning point in the match, then clearly we'll have to hope his body can get through it."
Flintoff underwent knee surgery after aggravating an injury during a spell in the Indian Premier League in April.
He defied the pain barrier and bowled a remarkable match-winning spell at Lord's to give England a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
I think this is a 'skid-bowler's' wicket rather than a 'bang it in' wicket
Edgbaston groundsman Steve Rouse
And Strauss, who is without star batsman Kevin Pietersen because of a series-ending Achilles injury, is confident the 31-year-old will be cleared to play at Edgbaston.
"All the indications are that he will be fine," said Strauss.
"So far, it doesn't look as though his knee injury has deteriorated. We need to see how he goes over the next couple of days in practice."
Australia are still set to be without fast bowler Brett Lee, who is recuperating from a side strain which has kept him out of the first two Test matches.
"I don't think that Brett is going to be right for Thursday," said Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke.
"He only bowled off three or four steps today in the net. He is doing plenty of fitness work and is working very hard to get himself right.
"I am not sure exactly how far away he is but I think he is out of contention for Thursday."
Groundsman Steve Rouse described the Edgbaston pitch as "jelly" last week, although warmer weather in the West Midlands has helped to dry the Test strip.

"It's drying, it's not rock hard because we haven't had a lot of sunshine or wind, but it's a lot better than it was last week," Rouse told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"I think this is a 'skid-bowler's' wicket rather than a 'bang it in' wicket. It's not hard enough for someone like Steve Harmison."
But Clarke believes the strip will benefit their top wicket-taker Nathan Hauritz, who impressed with the ball in Cardiff and at Lord's.
"The wicket looks better than we expected. It is quite dry. I would imagine that spin will play a part in this game," he added.
"I don't think the forecast is great for the rest of the week and I am sure conditions will come into the equation when selecting the side."

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