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Following Andrew Flintoff's announcement that he will retire from Test cricket after the current Ashes series against Australia, we look at his finest moments in an England shirt and pick out his five best innings and five key wickets.
Jade Stadium, Christchurch - First Test: Flintoff announced himself as a genuine Test all-rounder with a breakthrough century that bore the hallmarks of the muscular strokeplay that would make him one of the most feared players in the world.
After being recalled to the Test side the previous winter, and making a 14-ball duck in the first innings, Flintoff cast off the shackles thrashing his way to 137 in an innings that comprised 110 runs worth of boundaries.
He combined with Graham Thorpe in a 281-run stand for the sixth wicket, then the fourth-highest in Test cricket, that helped England recover from 106 for five and pave the way for victory by 98 runs.
Lord's - Second Test: Flintoff played a lone hand in England's second innings as they slumped to a humiliating innings defeat against South Africa. He started his knock with England having lost three for none, to slump to 208 for six, but despite the situation, dominated the tourists' attack to score his first century against the Proteas from 112 balls.
He struck 18 fours and five sixes in his 142, but as his team-mates fell around him it was not enough to make South Africa bat again.
The Oval - Fifth Test: A blistering knock of 95 helped England grab the initiative after South Africa, leading the series 2-1, had looked to bat the hosts out of the series with their 484 batting first.
England would surpass that thanks to Flintoff who combined in a 99-run stand for the ninth wicket with Steve Harmison, who added just six runs, as England declared on 604 for nine.
Flintoff struck 14 fours and four sixes with the momentum of his quickfire knock helping England go on and win the Test by nine wickets and level the series 2-2.
Edgbaston - Second Test: The highest score of his Test career came during arguably Flintoff's best period with the bat during his career.
In a record-breaking summer for England, when they won all seven Tests against the touring New Zealand and West Indies, Flintoff passed fifty in each match.
The highlight was his 167 at Edgbaston where he flayed a weakened West Indies attack, led by Pedro Collins, Corey Collymore and Jermaine Lawson.
Trent Bridge - Fourth Test: Flintoff's first-innings century proved pivotal in a Test victory that gave England the 2-1 lead that would secure them their first Ashes series win in 18 years.
It was characteristically an all-guns blazing stay at the crease as the Lancastrian struck 14 fours and a six, while also adding 177 for the sixth wicket with Geraint Jones.
The century, the fifth of his Test career, is also the last time Flintoff has reached the milestone.
Fourth Test v South Africa at Trent Bridge: Debatable whether this delivery, which nipped back to take the inside edge, ranks in Flintoff's top drawer. It got him going on debut, though, broke a very handy stand of 79 - and Kallis is a five-star first victim for anyone, in a cauldron of a series England fought back to win.
Third Test against West Indies at Old Trafford: It is hard to imagine much higher testament of anyone's skills than to say master batsman Lara was no match for them. On this occasion at least,
there was no argument - Flintoff terrorising the Windies captain before bowling him round his legs with a pinpoint delivery of extreme pace, in a series England won 4-0 as they gathered their glorious 2005 momentum.
Second Ashes Test at Edgbaston: Flintoff followed up his crucial runs with a spell of the highest class on the third evening of a famous match England would win by two runs. Having cleaned up Justin Langer, he concluded the same over - full of fast inswingers - with a leg-cutter to see off the Australia captain for a fourth-ball duck.
Third Ashes Test at Old Trafford: Flintoff et al more or less routinely eliminated Hayden's threat at the top of the order and Adam Gilchrist's game-breaking middle-order potential throughout the summer. When he bowled the opener round his legs with more searing pace, it did not prove to be quite enough to help force an England victory in Manchester - but it was symptomatic of the hosts' unexpected series supremacy.
Third Test at Edgbaston: Flintoff was inspired as he tore into a well-set Kallis and roused the crowd with a magnificent display of fast bowling. Flintoff narrowly missed the off stump with a yorker before ruffling Kallis with two short balls and then having a good lbw appeal turned down. He soon got his man, however, bowling him with an inswinging yorker next over.
Freddie is a legend in his own right and the game will not be the same without him. Freddie is the most whole hearted cricketer in the entire team and should be awarded Sports personality for the 2nd time! He is an inspiration to all young cricketers and I hope that he will continue to play other forms of cricket.after the Ashes. My greatest memory of Freddie would be when he bowled Pontin out during the Ashes 2005! Freddie you are simply THE BEST!!
Posted 15:55 2nd August 2009
Freddies' retirement is a huge blow to English cricket. He has been our talisman for so long now and when he hasn't played England have struggled. Thanks for the memories freddie, a true modern day great.
Posted 02:24 24th July 2009
Some of my fave Freddie moments are the time his dad dropped him in the crowd at I think Old Trafford when he had just smacked a six into the stands and you can clearly see Freddie saying that's my dad. I also loved his sledging to Tino Best against the Windies at Lord's - mind them windows Tino - and then laughing helplessly as Best was stumped a couple of balls later. Who can forget the wonderful moment when he consoled Brett Lee at Edgbaston? But for me the best Freddie moment was him arching his back, arms spread and shouting FREDDIE after ripping through the Aussie batting in 2005.
Posted 22:13 21st July 2009
I wish he was an Aussie, i can pay no higher compliment than that. An absolute inspiration to his country.
Posted 01:44 21st July 2009
Flintoff wil be thoroughly missed in any cricketing expeditions that England would undertake in the near future, especially the tour of South Africa after the Ashes....A greta player symbolising English Cricket..Hats Off Fredie...!!
Posted 15:08 16th July 2009
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