Lancashire captain Mark Chilton says a streamlined Andrew Flintoff - he lost a stone during his five-week lay-off - is "all right but a little bit stiff" as the England captain, in bowling 19 overs in Kent's first innings of the Championship match at Canterbury, stepped up his bid to return for next week's second Test.
Flintoff bowled nine overs on the second day in temperatures approaching 37C, following on from the ten overs he bowled on Tuesday evening, to finish with two for 45 off 19 overs.
The 28-year-old England all-rounder looks set to lead England at Old Trafford on Thursday barring any recur-rence of his ankle injury over the next two days.
Chilton said: "'Fred's' OK but a little bit stiff like all the bowlers.
"The bowlers all came off and went straight into the ice baths and to my knowledge Freddie's all right. He bowled two steady spells for us today."
Chilton said he had been cautious not to over-use Flintoff under such testing conditions, adding: "Just because 'Fred's' playing doesn't mean he's going to bowl you a truck-load of overs.
"It's his first game back and you've got to manage him just like you'd manage anyone else. We tried to spread the bowling round and make sure all the seamers got a bowl.
"We were constantly asking him how he felt because we didn't want to over-bowl him and that was probably obvious from the side."
Flintoff's county teammate, England paceman James Anderson, had his first bowl at anything like normal at Canterbury yesterday after a stress fracture in his back.
He said: "I've been doing a bit of bowling recently, just walking through my action, but today I did it with a light jog into the crease at about 30 to 40 per cent and hopefully I can build it up a bit more from there."
Should things go to plan Anderson, aged 23, will be hoping to play a handful of matches before the season ends.
Meanwhile, England stand-in captain Andrew Strauss has hailed under-fire Geraint Jones as a team man follow-ing the drawn first Test match.
The wicketkeeper is being challenged by Chris Read, the man he displaced in the side, following his rival's innings of 150 not out off the Pakistani attack for England A.
Jones' batting has slipped in recent months and two scores in the teens at Lord's took his total to 72 runs in his past eight completed Test innings. After a 30-cap career his average, which hovered at 30 before and after last summer's Ashes series, is 26.
His two innings at Lord's were starkly contrasting affairs, but Strauss said: "He played for the team on both occasions. He reacted very positively to the challenge of scoring quickly to set up the first-innings declaration. In the second innings we didn't need another wicket to fall so he made some hard yards."