In the third of Andrew Flintoff's exclusive Red Bull blogs, the cricket legend celebrates both his birthday and an England Test victory and wonders where the Australia side go from here.
It was my birthday on Monday – I was 33 and I went out with Rachael for a meal out in the desert here in Dubai and had some nice food and wine. All very civilised, it was. It wasn’t a big night, but I’m feeling it this morning. Must be my age!
It creeps up on you, doesn’t it? I didn’t think for one minute that I’d be retired at 33, but it opens up a new chapter in my life now, which I’m looking forward to greatly.
The England boys gave me a great birthday present by finishing off the Aussies in the Second Test in Adelaide and I’m still wearing the lucky shirt, which I probably won’t take off until the end of the series.
The lads have done so well, first by bowling the Aussies out for under 250 and then with the bat they carried on where they left off in Brisbane and scored very heavily.
Cooky [Alastair Cook] is in a rich vein of form and then Kevin Pietersen – the man that everyone’s been waiting to see – delivered.
Over the past few months, KP’s been written off in the press and then he comes up with a double hundred and suddenly he’s a genius again. It just goes to show you how fickle people can be.
'KP silenced a few critics with that innings'
He’s too good not to score runs. He’s got a great record against Australia, which is getting better, and he’s silenced his critics with that innings. A few people will be eating humble pie at the moment.
It looks like England will be losing Stuart Broad to injury, and he’ll be gutted of course, but there’s plenty more cricket to come from him in the future and he can take solace in the fact that he will go again I’m sure.
The great thing about this England squad is the strength in depth and I reckon Chris Tremlett will get the call to take Broady’s place in Perth.
It’s almost a like-for-like swap and Tremlett’s done well on tour so far and taken wickets, so it could be a golden opportunity for him.
'I think it's a bit of panic time for the Aussies'
As for the Aussies – the problem for them is where do they go now? They made wholesale changes after a bowling attack that lacked penetration in Brisbane and it will be interesting to see what they do next.
I think it’s a bit of panic time for them really. Who else have they got to bring in now? I’ve been saying for a while that they’ve been spoiled for a long time in terms of the players at their disposal, but now they don’t have those resources and I think sides are enjoying playing against them. Well, England are, definitely!
They might have to go back to Nathan Hauritz in the spin department. They need to find 20 wickets from somewhere and that plan to bring a left armer [Doherty] for KP didn’t really work.
They’re going to have to come up with something. Scoring a few runs would be a start!
Ponting’s feeling the pressure now. For years that side almost captained itself and now it’s almost ‘welcome to the world of captaincy’ for him.
'Ponting's feeling the pressure now'
And when you’re not scoring runs as well it makes it that much harder, but I don’t think too many people around the world with have sympathy because they’ve enjoyed it and now it’s almost a bit of payback.
I predicted a 3-1 England series win, but I’m thinking that it might be 3-0 now. I don’t see how Australia are going to bowl England out at this moment in time.
I was advocating five bowlers before Adelaide, but now England have won, they can just bat and bat and let the Aussies chase them.
We’re coming back to England for Christmas next week, so I’ll be watching most of the Perth Test in England. It will be interesting to see what the Aussies do next.