Flintoff's unbeaten 50 boosts England score 293

Published: Friday, June 28, 2002, 5:16 [IST]
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Nottingham: Andrew Flintoff's blistering unbeaten 50 took England to a total of 293 for seven in their day-night one-day international against Sri Lanka here at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

Lancashire all-rounder Flintoff faced just 28 balls including two sixes and five fours. Paul Collingwood was 10 not out off three balls after veteran keeper-batsman Alec Stewart had been bowled for a well-made 83 off 103 balls by Chaminda Vaas in the final over.

Sri Lanka, without star bowler Muthiah Muralitharan, looked to be containing England. But the tourists' paid the price for their leading off-spinner's absence, Russel Arnold's six overs alone going for 41. Paceman Dilhara Fernando was the pick of the attack with two for 46 from eight overs while left-arm paceman Vaas took two for 58 from nine. Flintoff, one of English cricket's most destructive hitters, was batting well down the order at number seven and this innings is sure to reignite the argument about whether he should be promoted to a higher position so that he has more time to do even greater damage.

Earlier England captain Nasser Hussain won the toss and his decision to bat first on a good pitch was quickly vindicated. One-day specialist Nick Knight helped get England off to a flying start with 20 from 18 balls before he was lbw to fellow left-hander Nuwan Zoysa. Then Trescothick (26) was brilliantly caught by Kumar Sangakkara, playing as an outfielder with Romesh Kaluwitharana keeping wicket, as he chased the ball over his shoulder following a mistimed shot off Vaas. Fernando then struck twice in four balls to remove both Hussain (32) and Graham Thorpe (18) before Stewart and the recalled Ronnie Irani steadied the innings.

Irani, playing his first one-day international in over five years, made 39 putting on 95 with Stewart before he was caught on the midwicket boundary by Mahela Jayawardene off Arnold. But then came Flintoff and England added 80 runs in the final seven overs. This is the first match of a series that also features India.

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