Flintoff fails as England flop

Leeds, July 18:

Andrew Flintoff’s first Test innings for 18 months failed to prevent England being bowled out for 203 on the first day of the second Test against South Africa here on Friday.

Flintoff, back in the team at the expense of Paul Collingwood, following ankle and side injuries, had made 17 when he flat-footedly edged Dale Steyn through to wicket-keeper Mark Boucher.

But it was Morne Morkel, with 4-52 in 15 overs, who led the way as the much-vaunted South Africa pace attack, lived up to their billing albeit in helpful, overcast conditions. Fellow quick Steyn was not far behind with four for 76.

Several of the top-order made starts with only captain Michael Vaughan, out for nought, falling in single figures. Kevin Pietersen’s 45 was the top score.

England, who were 186 for nine, did have the consolation of getting past 200 before No 11 Darren Pattinson, handed a surprise Test debut, was last man out for eight as Boucher held his fifth catch of the innings.

England resumed after lunch on 70-3. Pietersen, who made a century at Lord’s, was 17 not out and Ian Bell, whose 199 in the series opener was his Test-best score, was unbeaten on four. Pietersen came out all guns blazing, driving Steyn off the backfoot for four through the covers. But five runs short of a fifty he tried to drive Steyn without moving his feet and edged to South Africa captain Graeme Smith at first slip. Wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose, promoted to No 6 didn’t linger long before, on 12, he played at a Makhaya Ntini ball angled across him, from round the wicket, and edged to Boucher.

Bell had looked in good touch but, on 31, he was bowled off the inside edge driving at all-rounder Jacques Kallis. Left-handed openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook made a steady start.

But South Africa had a breakthrough when Cook was given out for 18 by umpire Billy Bowden, caught down the legside by Boucher off Morkel, when it appeared the ball had brushed the batsman’s trousers and missed the edge of the bat.

However, there was no doubt at all when, nine balls later. Vaughan, who made just two at Lord’s, edged a full-length Steyn delivery to Smith. It was not the way Vaughan, on his Yorkshire home ground, would have wanted to mark his 50th Test as England captain.

Former roof tiler Pattinson, who has appeared in just 11 first-class matches, replaced fellow Nottinghamshire pace bowler Ryan Sidebottom after the left-arm quick was ruled out with a back strain.