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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2006, 08:24 GMT
Flintoff hails ruthless Australia
Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff's men were outgunned by a dominant Australian side
England captain Andrew Flintoff paid tribute to Australia after they crushed his team by an innings inside three days in the fourth Test in Melbourne.

The hosts are now 4-0 up and on the brink of the first Ashes whitewash since England lost 5-0 in 1920/21.

"We've been outplayed. Australia bowled magnificently and gave us nothing.

"We have competed in parts but we've not been able to apply pressure for periods of time. Australia have not allowed us to do that," he said.

Flintoff's team made feeble scores of 159 and 161 at the MCG.

By contrast, the Aussies recovered from 84-5 to 419 thanks mainly to a partnership of 272 from Matthew Hayden (153) and Andrew Symonds (156).

A lot of people still believe in us and want us to do well, so it would be nice if we could give them something back

Andrew Flintoff

Flintoff explained: "That was the difference and took the game away from us. Hayden and Symonds are aggressive players and started coming at us.

"It was hard to keep the slips in when the ball was going all around the park. It was about trying to build pressure by stopping them scoring but we couldn't do that."

Despite a fourth consecutive heavy defeat, the England skipper insists his side can still bounce back and avoid the ignominy of falling victim to a clean sweep.

"We still have a talented bunch of lads trying their best for England but at times Australia just haven't let us play," the all-rounder added.

"There aren't too many cartwheels being done at the moment but we're not disheartened and nobody's fallen out.

"I'm pleased with the way my lads have worked all trip, they've tried to improve their games and beat Australia.

606: DEBATE
BQ

"We have to do that in one Test and don't want to go home beaten 5-0.

"The fans are still following us and there are going to be a lot more in Sydney. We have to put on a show for them.

"A lot of people still believe in us and want us to do well, so it would be nice if we could give them something back."

Flintoff has confirmed that Kevin Pietersen, who moved up one place from his usual No.5 spot for the second innings at Melbourne, will stay in his new position for the Sydney Test.

"Kevin asked if he could bat at No.4 and he's been in good touch," said Flintoff.

"He started the tour batting at five and he feels he can do the job at No.4 so he asked to go up there.

"The way's he's been playing, you wouldn't say no.

"He's been fantastic all trip, so why not give him that opprtunity he wants?"

SEE ALSO
Aussies showed class, says Warne
28 Dec 06 |  England


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