London:England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is confident of being fit to round off his Test career in this week's final Ashes match against Australia.
Flintoff missed the fourth Test, which Australia won by an innings and 80 runs to draw level at 1-1, because of a knee injury but said on Tuesday that he has batted and bowled in training to prove his fitness for the series decider at The Oval.
The 31-year-old allrounder is stepping down from Test cricket after the Ashes in order to reduce the strain on his body and concentrate on limited-overs cricket. But he said that wasn't playing on his mind as he prepares for a final fitness Test.
"It's my last Test, but I'm not too fussed about that," Flintoff said. "It's more the chance to win the Ashes again.
A talismanic member of the team that won the urn in 2005 and then lost it to a 5-0 mauling two years later, Flintoff is key to England's hopes of a shock victory over an Australia side that appears to have played itself into winning form.
Flintoff hit a 27-ball 30 not out and took five second-innings wickets to help England to victory in the second Test at Lord's, but his condition appeared to deteriorate throughout the drawn third Test at Edgbaston and he was left out at Headingley despite reportedly declaring himself fit.
"I'm probably in a better state than I was going into the last Test," Flintoff said. "I think I'm more or less there, I just have to prove it."
England will have had almost two weeks to recover from its embarrassing loss at Headingley and is set to put uncapped Warwickshire batsman Jonathan Trott in the side after dropping the out-of-form Ravi Bopara.
Flintoff's presence at No 7 would boost the batting lineup further at the ground where England drew to win the 2005 Ashes and he is not concerned by suggestions that his teammates will still be fretting over their poor performances last time out.
"I think the week off has been important for the lads,'' Flintoff said. "You talk about momentum, it seems to be the buzzword of the minute, but this is a one-off Test match."