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Injured Flintoff flies home

ENGLAND allrounder Andrew Flintoff will miss the fifth and final test against the West Indies starting in a week's time in Trinidad, team officials confirmed yesterday.

The 31-year-old has a "torn hip flexor," sustained during the drawn third test in Antigua a week ago and will fly home, in the middle of the fourth test, to continue his rehabilitation in England.

Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, said he was hopeful that Flintoff would rejoin the tour on March 10 in time for the one-off twenty20 international and the five-match one-day international series.

"We're determined that we are going to do everything possible to get Andrew fit for the one-day international series which starts in a couple of weeks time," Morris said. "We feel that Andrew's rehabilitation will be best served by him going home for that period of time."

England's twenty20 match against the West Indies is on March 15 and then five one-day internationals beginning March 20.

Meanwhile, captain Andrew Strauss spanked a magnificent 142 and shared a record opening stand with Alastair Cook as England posted a formidable 301-3 against West Indies in the fourth test on Thursday.

Strauss, who won the toss in good batting conditions, lashed 18 fours and a six in notching his 16th test century.

The 31-year-old faced 210 balls and batted four hours, 10 minutes.

"I feel pretty balanced and I'm seeing the ball pretty well," Strauss said. "I think we all know when you feel like that and you're in good nick, you have to make it count. And I was delighted to get a hundred today."

Fellow left-hander Cook provided sound support with 94 but fell just short of an eighth test ton. Cook cracked nine fours and a rare six off 187 deliveries.

The pair dominated the first two sessions at Kensington Oval in tallying 221, a record opening stand for England against West Indies.

The home team hit back in the final session with three quick wickets before Kevin Pietersen (32 not out) and Paul Collingwood (11 not out) restored England's advantage in an unbroken stand of 42.


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