Leeds:England captain Andrew Strauss said he hopes to know the availability of talismanic allrounder Andrew Flintoff "two or three days" before the deciding fifth Test, after his injury situation distracted England's build up to the innings and 80-run loss to Australia in the fourth Test.
Flintoff, who will retire as a test player once the fifth Test is over at The Oval, would want to contribute towards a triumphant farewell victory for England with the series currently level at 1-1. The state of his injured right knee, though, will be the deciding factor.
"Ideally we will be in a position to get it resolved earlier for the final test match," Strauss told reporters at Headingley on Sunday.
"It's about constant monitoring from the medical team again, it's about how he is feeling, his state of mind is important. Hopefully we will know two or three days out from the test whether he will be able to play or not."
Flintoff was man of the series when England won 2-1 to reclaim the Ashes in 2005 and he was also man of the match when England won by 115 runs last month.
His hostile fast bowling, explosive batting and his inspirational presence on the England team is not lost on Australia. Australia skipper Ricky Ponting had no hesitation in expressing his feelings on Flintoff's influence.
Asked whether England could win at The Oval without Flintoff, Ponting replied: "They can, but I think they will find it harder without him."