Former players laud England's historic win

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> English cricketing fraternity has hailed the nation's historic win over Australia in the second Ashes Test at Lord's.

Updated: July 21, 2009 09:51 IST
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English cricketing fraternity has hailed the nation's historic win over Australia in the second Ashes Test at Lord's, saying the hosts were simply brilliant throughout the match.

While skipper Andrew Strauss was praised for his tactics retiring Andrew Flintoff was lauded for his match-winning bowling performance that helped England beat Australia for the first time at Lord's in 75 years.

Flintoff rattled the visitors' batting line up on Monday with a fiery fast bowling display of five wickets for 92 runs in 27 overs.

Former bowling great Ian Botham said Flintoff's herculean performance on a dead Lord's pitch was the highlight of England's victory.

"Flintoff's effort was almost superhuman - because he produced a match-winning performance on a flat pitch," Botham said in the Daily Mirror.

"There was nothing in that Lord's wicket to encourage any pace bowler, but Fred was the only one on either side who was prepared to extract any life out of it by flogging himself to breaking point," he said.

Interestingly, just before the match Flintoff announced that he would retire from Test cricket after the on-going Ashes series to prolong his injury-prone career, but his exploits at Lord's on Monday prompted several commentators to urge the burly all-rounder to drop his the plan.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain said Strauss's leadership throughout the match was impeccable.

"Captains are rarely able to say that they produced the perfect performance at the helm of their side but Andrew Strauss came pretty damn close to it here at Lord's," Hussain wrote in the Daily Mail.

"It was a spotless display of leadership from the England skipper."

Former England coach Duncan Fletcher said Strauss outsmarted his experienced counterpart Ricky Ponting, who is finding it difficult without the likes Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Brett Lee in the bowling attack.

"Suddenly you look at his (Strauss's) opposite number and wonder which of the two has been captain for five years non-stop," Fletcher wrote in the Guardian newspaper.

"As I've said before, Ponting was never really under pressure when he had those greats in his bowling attack, because the players captained themselves."

"Now his prickly side is coming out, both in Cardiff and again at Lord's," he added.

Former England captain Mike Atherton was of the view that Australian bowlers will have lift their performances in the third Test if they desire to retain the Ashes.

"Critics may look to Australia's first innings, when they lost six wickets for 49 runs to concede a huge first-innings lead, in explaining their defeat. In reality, though, the bowling is by far the bigger problem," he said in The Times.

Atherton said Australia were still to win a match on this tour and their bowlers' struggle can be ascertained from the fact that they have even failed to bowl out county side Sussex "in 89 overs second time round" in the run up to the Ashes.

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