ODI Loss No Guide to Ashes

Andrew Flintoff has shrugged off suggestions that his team’s Champions Trophy loss to Australia is a portent for the upcoming Ashes.

Flintoff’s comments seem to be at odds with those of fast bowler Steve Harmison, who was adamant before the match that both sides would go into their Group A game with an eye on the first Test at Brisbane starting on November 23.

Seeking to draw positives from his side’s six-wicket defeat, Flintoff took heart from the performances of Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell at the top of the order together with those of Sajid Mahmood and James Anderson with the ball.

“We played well at the start and the two lads at the top of the order played well….
We took three quick wickets which gave us hope but then they got their heads down and played well”, Flintoff said after the game.

For his part, Australian captain Ricky Ponting was happy with the performance of his bowlers after the initial hour produced only fruitless toil. “We hung in there and once we got the first wicket I thought we could put them under pressure”, Ponting said.

Irrespective of the effect, if any, of this game on the Ashes the ramifications for the balance of the Champions Trophy are clear. Australia can look forward to their next must-win match on Sunday against hosts India with renewed confidence, while England can look forward to an early flight home after their game against West Indies on Saturday.

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