One of the best all-rounders to ever play cricket, Andrew Flintoff became a national figure during England’s 2005 Ashes win, picking up Man of the Series along the way.
The Lancastrian had a number of famous moments throughout his career against Australia, including leading the team in the 2006/7 series as captain.
Flintoff managed five centuries and 26 half-centuries in his Test career, along with 226 wickets at an average of 32.78.
The 45-year-old also held the record for most sixes hit for England in Tests before being overtaken by Ben Stokes. As the 2023 Ashes series approaches, here is a look at some of the legendary Flintoff's best Ashes moments.
|England v Australia, 1st Test
|Friday 16th June to Tuesday 20th June
|How to watch
|Sky Sports Cricket & Main Event
|England 5/4, Draw 4/1, Australia 11/8
The Ashes series in 2005 was eagerly anticipated with England looking to halt Australia in their tracks after they had racked up eight wins in a row from 1989 to 2003.
England looked like experiencing much of the same after the first Test at Lord’s, losing by 239 runs, managing totals of just 155 and 180 in the process.
As a result, England needed to bounce back in the second Test at Edgbaston and Flintoff led the charge.
The all-rounder smashed nine sixes in 141 runs across his two innings, a record in English Test cricket with the bat.
Flintoff also took seven wickets across the two Australia innings, including both Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting in his first over of the visitors’ run-chase, with the over considered by some to be among the best bowled in English cricket history.
The Lancashire legend achieved all that while nursing a shoulder injury, and his commiseration of Brett Lee following England’s two-run win became an iconic moment from the series.
The Englishman took home Man of the Match honours, with Michael Vaughan calling the match "Fred's Test" thanks to his crucial efforts.
With England levelling the series at 1-1, Flintoff chipped in with five wickets and 50 runs in the next Test at Old Trafford, which was drawn.
After that their talisman produced another Man of the Match performance at Trent Bridge to lead England to the brink of victory in the 2005 series.
A first-innings century with 14 fours and a six set up England for success and Flintoff chipped in with three wickets across the two innings, as well as a crucial 26 in his side’s run-chase as they ran out winners by three wickets.
Flintoff’s talismanic performances continued in the final Test, with 80 runs and a five-for in Australia’s first innings critical to England’s ability to eke out a draw and win the series.
Flintoff eventually took home Man of the Series honours thanks to his 402 runs and 24 wickets across the five matches, cementing his place in Ashes and English cricket history in the process.
The series would mark Flintoff’s high point in an English uniform, as he struggled with injuries following 2005.
The all-rounder led the team as captain in the 2006/7 Ashes campaign which saw England beaten 5-0 and sent back home with their tails between their legs, but Flintoff would play his part in another series.
Battling back from injuries, Flintoff managed to play a major role in the 2009 Ashes, which he declared would be his last in Test cricket.
The former captain was Man of the Match in the second Test at Lord’s, taking six wickets and hitting an unbeaten 30 as his side won by 115 runs.
Taking five wickets in the Australian second innings gave the all-rounder the distinction of becoming one of a select group to be on both Lord’s honours boards.
Flintoff top scored in the third Test with 74 but the game was a draw thanks to inclement weather. Running out Ricky Ponting in the series finale, which England won to secure a 2-1 win, again secured Flintoff’s place in Ashes history.
The all-rounder was his country’s talisman in both of those home series, and is undoubtedly considered one of the most important England players in the history of their long rivalry with Australia.
England captain Ben Stokes will be hoping to channel some of Flintoff’s fire in this year’s series.