x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Flintoff likely to play in third Test

England captain Andrew Strauss expects Andrew Flintoff to be available for the third Test against Australia.

England captain Andrew Strauss expects Andrew Flintoff to be available for the third Test against Australia. Flintoff has been troubled by a knee problem that threatens his participation in the remaining three matches of the series, which resumes in Birmingham on Thursday. But Strauss is encouraged by the all-rounder's fitness and is confident he will continue to spearhead England's attack. "All the indications are that Andrew will be fine. We need to see how he goes over the next couple of days during practice," Strauss said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Australian media have called for out-of-form fast bowler Mitchell Johnson to be dropped. Johnson has been struggling with his eight wickets going for 331 runs in the opening two Tests of the Ashes series, and it has got no better with match figures of one for 107 off 18.1 overs in the weekend tour match against Northamptonshire. Australia won the match by 135 runs. "It's hard to justify Johnson's inclusion in a four-pronged attack," The Sydney Morning Herald's Peter Roebuck said. "Australia cannot afford to carry a pace bowler on a wing and a prayer."

The Australian's Malcolm Conn said: "If form is any guide Johnson should be replaced by [the in-form] Stuart Clark for the third Test at Edgbaston." * With agencies