London:Retiring England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff will be under pressure in the absence of the injured Kevin Pietersen in the rest of the Ashes series, feels Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
"He (Pietersen) is a massive loss. He's such an X-factor in their side, the way he can score quickly and the ability he has to put the bowlers on the back foot by putting extra pressure on them," Ponting said.
"I think Pietersen does leave a pretty big hole in their batting. For us it will be a real positive. It probably puts a bit more pressure on Flintoff to perform. He has to stand up big time now," he was quoted as saying by 'The Australian'.
Ponting also criticised selection of Ian Bell in the squad for the third Test starting on Thursday.
"If you look at the way we've bowled to (Pietersen) and the way he's played, he's been one of the England batsmen we've been able to put the most pressure on. Ben Hilfenhaus in particular has bowled beautifully to him.
"Now England has a much more sound, technically correct, but scratchy player like Bell. If we happen to get him in at the right time he's a pretty nervous sort of bloke as well," he added.