Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Vaughan Suffers Another Failure

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Vaughan Suffers Another Failure

Article excerpt


MICHAEL VAUGHAN failed again with the bat today after promising plenty to mirror a typically up and down performance from England at The Oval.

Vaughan struck four crisp boundaries on his way to 23 and looked set for a major contribution as his team set off in pursuit South Africa's 484 all out.

But then one slightly faulty drive against Shaun Pollock produced a low edge to third slip, a 300th Test wicket for the tourists' leading bowler and another disappointing figure against the name of England's captain.

Since becoming skipper ahead of schedule a month or so ago, Vaughan has made just 127 runs in seven innings and the debate about whether the pressure on him too much too soon will only intensify.

It did not seem as though Vaughan's mind was on other things when he batted today, although he could have been excused if it were. First, England lifted his spirits by taking five South African wickets for 70 runs during a successful two-hour morning session.

But then, having pegged back the opposition to 432 for nine, England effectively closed the door on themselves by allowing Pollock and Makhaya Ntini to add 52 for the last wicket - from 69 balls.

Steve Harmison coudn't knock over Ntini with his too-often misdirected pace and neither Andrew Flintoff nor Ashley Giles were successful, either. By the time Jimmy Anderson defeated the No11's attempted drive, only an away win or a draw were back on the agenda.

Pollock mixed caution and aggression to make a fine unbeaten 66. The wicket of Vaughan, though, would have given him even more please and England were just thankful to reach tea on 51 for one.

Vaughan's side had needed a couple of moments of luck to spark their morning fightback. Mark Boucher fell victim to a catch behind that touched nothing on its way through to Alec Stewart while Jacques Kallis, well set on 66, was run out when Giles deflected Pollock's straight drive onto the non-striker's stumps. …

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