|Scorecard:||Australia v England|
|Event:||England in Australia 2006/07|
DateLine: 4th December 2006
England have a fitness concern over their inspirational captain Andrew Flintoff after he bowled just four of his team's 69 overs in Australia's marathon first innings in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide Monday. The effects of playing in back-to-back Tests left him experiencing discomfort from ankle surgery earlier this year, and he bowled a reduced spell in the morning session and did not bowl again for the rest of the Australian innings. At Monday's close, England, batting a second time, were 59 for one with Andrew Strauss not out 31 and Ian Bell on 18 to hold an overall lead of 97 runs over the Australians heading into Tuesday's fifth and final day. Coach Duncan Fletcher played down the concerns over his team's star all-rounder, who has for the first time on the Australian tour shown any reaction to his ankle surgery last July. Flintoff has a history of ankle problems and had initial surgery in January 2005. "He felt a slight discomfort there and he wanted to make sure everything was alright and he came off (didn't bowl), and felt more comfortable with the other bowlers bowling," Fletcher said after Monday's fourth day's play. ``Andrew has played back-to-back Tests, he's done quite a bit of bowling and it's just having played a lot of cricket. There are no worries at the moment, we are just going to have to wait to see how it fares over the next couple of days, but from the advice I've been given we are not even going to send him for a scan at this stage. He's had this problem in the past, but the medical staff are pretty confident at the moment." If Flintoff has developed more problems with his ankle, it would deal a massive blow to England's hopes of retaining the Ashes they won last year. The tourists are already one-nil down in this series after bombing out by 277 runs in the first Brisbane Test, and all indications here are that the second Adelaide Test will end in a draw on Tuesday. The next Test does not start in Perth until December 14, but it is a worrying development for the England team, already touring without injured skipper Michael Vaughan and fast bowler Simon Jones, while experienced opener Marcus Trescothick returned home during the tour with depression. Flintoff, who turns 29 on Wednesday, was the outstanding performer in their 2-1 Ashes series triumph last year, with 402 runs and 24 wickets.
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