Strauss defends Flintoff

England batsman Andrew Strauss has rushed to the defence of stand-in England skipper Andrew Flintoff after the disappointing drawn first Test against Sri Lanka.

Flintoff has been under scrutiny since the result at Lord's after he bowled himself for 51 overs in the second innings before bad light hit but dangerous spin bowler Monty Panesar bowled just 27.

"The weather was always likely to play a part so there was always that feeling we had to try and wrap it up sooner rather than later," Strauss told the BBC.

"He did what most captains would do - he turned to who he felt were his most threatening bowlers and he was one.

"Fred has got a very good cricket brain and I'm sure he will bowl himself when he thinks it's the right time to do it."

Strauss, who was responsible for two of the nine dropped catches in the match, highlighted a number of missed chances as the reason the Test ended in an unlikely draw.

"The slip fielding aspect of last week was very disappointing from our point of view," he said.

"In the end we had 28 chances to take 20 wickets and we didn't do it. We did everything right other than finish them off, really."

The result of the second Test, which begins at Edgbaston on 25 May, is expected to be crucial to the series.

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