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Remembering Andrew Flintoff’s epic battle with Jacques Kallis

Flintoff v Kallis
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Andrew Flintoff gave a torrid time to Jacques Kallis, one of the best in the business, to win a gripping battle between two of the game’s finest all-rounders at Edgbaston in 2008.

First published in February 2013.

Three years had passed since since Fred’s unforgettable spell had set up that famous win over the Aussies at Edgbaston, tearing through Langer and Ponting in one rip-snorting over that would take its place in Ashes history.

In truth, the years since had not been especially kind to either England or their talismanic all-rounder. The Ashes afterglow proved short-lived and the urn had been meekly surrendered over the winter, with Flintoff cutting a  dejected figure as interim captain.

Flintoff would never again consistently reach the heights of ’05 but he rekindled memories of those heady days in a gladiatorial clash that rivalled his battle with Ponting on the same ground three years prior.

Jacques Kallis was the man in the firing line this time, facing a fired up Fred on a spiced up pitch following a rain shower, and a nicely sozzled Edgbaston crowd roaring him on in the late afternoon. South Africa were bossing the match but for now that didn’t matter. This contest was all about two men; two titans of the game going toe-to-toe, last man standing.

Kallis has looked imperious on his way to a half-century but the mood shifts as Flintoff cranks into top gear in his second over after the rain break, opening up with an in-ducking yorker that misses off stump by a hair’s breadth before sending down two venomous bouncers.

Two balls later he looks to have his man when another yorker hones in on Kallis’ toe and hits him plumb in front, but inexplicably Aleem Dar shakes his head. Flintoff is at first incredulous, then apoplectic, before he stomps off to fine leg at the end of his over.

Still seething, he begins his next over with a devilish bouncer which Kallis is forced to snap his neck back to evade. He then flays wildly at a wide on – even the usually ice-cool Kallis is ruffed by the unbridled ferocity being hurled down at him.

Next ball it’s all over. Kallis is beaten all ends up by pace and swing as the ball leaves him and uproots his off peg. As the stump cartwheels away, Fred stands mid pitch, arches his back and releases a guttural roar. The Edgbaston crowd rise to hail their rejuvenated hero as though it were ’05 all over again.

First published in February 2013.

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