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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005, 17:42 GMT 18:42 UK
England set sights on famous win
Second Test, Edgbaston (day three, stumps)
England 407 & 182 v Australia 308 & 175-8

Flintoff set a new record for sixes in an Ashes Test

Andrew Flintoff played a starring role as England closed in on victory over Australia in the second Test.

Despite an injured shoulder, Flintoff hit a heroic 73, with four sixes, and was the pick of the bowlers with 3-34.

Michael Clarke fell to the final ball of day three at Edgbaston to leave Australia 175-8, needing 107 more.

Shane Warne had taken 6-46 - 10 wickets for the match - and Brett Lee 4-82 as England posted 182, Flintoff and Simon Jones adding 51 for the last wicket.

On a day in which 17 wickets fell, 332 runs were scored and the evening session lasted three-and-a-half hours, the momentum swung regularly this way and that.

England slumped to 31-4 early on, Lee taking three wickets for four runs in 11 balls.

Bowling 22 overs unchanged, Warne enjoyed some luck and friendly conditions to keep the wickets tumbling to 131-9 when Ashley Giles and Steve Harmison fell to successive deliveries.

I was still on a high from the batting and just tried to hit the pitch to see what happened
Andrew Flintoff

Then Flintoff launched into a ferocious attack, taking his total of sixes in the match to nine, passing Ian Botham's record of six at Old Trafford in 1981.

Were the comparisons with 24 years ago not strong enough, England have not won a match to level an Ashes series since the victory at Headingley in that year.

Harmison ended the day in emphatic fashion when he bowled Clarke with a slower ball for 30 to leave Warne to bat with the tail.

No side has ever hit more than 277 in the fourth innings at Edgbaston, and the 211 made by England against New Zealand in 1999 is the best successful chase.

Australian openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden started comfortably and were nearing a half-century partnership when Flintoff was introduced into the attack for the first time.

Langer played his second ball on with his elbow and new batsman Ricky Ponting edged a perfect leg-cutter behind to end the over.

Just as Australia looked to be stabilising, Hayden edged Simon Jones to slip for a functional 31 and Damien Martyn was caught at midwicket off a loose drive.

Giles struck in successive deliveries to account for Simon Katich and Adam Gilchrist before Flintoff returned to trap Jason Gillespie lbw with a full inswinger.

Flintoff had been a shadow of his usual self for the first part of his innings, using mainly his bottom hand as he and Giles put on 30 for the eighth wicket

But a painkilling injection and an errant Michael Kasprowicz allowed him to settle, hoisting two sixes, the second into the Eric Hollies Stand at midwicket to reach his 50 from 64 balls.

With all nine fielders around the boundary in an almost unprecedented move, Flintoff lofted Lee straight twice in the space of three balls.

Shane Warne celebrates
Warne took his career total to 599 Test wickets

Warne finally finished the innings, bowling Flintoff as he looked for another big shot, to take his career total to 599 wickets.

Lee's morning spell had seen him regularly touch the 90mph mark but both Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan were culpable in their dismissals

Opener Trescothick wafted at a delivery wide outside off stump to be caught behind the wicket for the 18th time in his 24th innings against Australia.

Vaughan was bowled through the gate, pinned back on the crease and failing to get the bat down on a delivery that seamed in.

After a 41-run fifth-wicket stand, with two sixes in an over off Warne, Kevin Pietersen was given out caught off pad and elbow as he swept the leg-spinner.

His partner Ian Bell could also consider himself unlucky after he was judged to be nicking one a delivery that ripped across him.

Geraint Jones edged Lee to slip just after lunch to herald the start of a helter-skelter afternoon.

Interview: England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff

Interview: Australia's Shane Warne


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