|Event:||England in Australia 2006/07|
DateLine: 6th December 2006
England have attempted to play down concerns over the long-term fitness of Ashes captain Andrew Flintoff who bowled only four overs on the fourth day of the second Test in Adelaide after suffering discomfort in his troublesome left ankle.
"Andrew has played back-to-back Tests and he's done quite a bit of bowling and he's played quite a bit of cricket," explained coach Duncan Fletcher ahead of Tuesday’s final day's play. "There are no worries at the moment, but we're going to have to wait and see over the next couple of days. From the advice we've been given we're not even going to send him for a scan at this stage. They feel it's just having over-bowled in back-to-back Tests. He's had this problem in the past, but the medical staff are pretty confident at the moment."
Ankle problems forced Flintoff into a second operation mid-summer and sidelined him for the second half of the season. He has bowled 35 overs in the first Test and 26 more in this. England have been particularly careful to monitor Flintoff's workload ever since he returned to action during the Champions Trophy in India last month and are mindful their captain has a history of breaking down when he does too much bowling. Fletcher was full of praise for Yorkshire seam bowler Matthew Hoggard, who finished with 7-109 on a flat pitch.
"He stuck to his task and also bowled into the wind for a lot of those overs and just showed the character of the individual," enthused Fletcher. "He stuck to the disciplines that were required. We thought a skiddy bowler would probably play quite a big role on this pitch. One of the reasons he's been such a useful member of our side is that he is prepared to run through a brick wall for you. He's bowled a lot of overs in the last two days but he's still pretty cheery and he's that kind of individual that's really prepared to stick it out. He's learned different variations from touring the sub-continent when the swing goes pretty quickly and you've got to learn to bowl different types of balls with variation of pace and off-cutters, which can be confusing on pitches like this and it showed yesterday."