Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Vaughan's Return Lifts the Gloom as Bowlers Hit Back; Workout in the Nets Puts Injured Captain on Course for Test Series as Battling England Refuse to Wilt in Indian Heat

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Vaughan's Return Lifts the Gloom as Bowlers Hit Back; Workout in the Nets Puts Injured Captain on Course for Test Series as Battling England Refuse to Wilt in Indian Heat

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID LLOYD

MICHAEL VAUGHAN tried to set foot on the comeback trail today for the third time this winter while his bowlers pounded away under a burning sun.

Little more than 24 hours after sparking a major injury concern by pulling out of England's warm-up match against a President's XI, the captain took his wonky right knee into the nets here for a "light" workout.

Vaughan, who battled back to play two Tests in Pakistan before Christmas after missing the first and then declared himself fit enough to make this trip following an operation, seemed to come through today's session reasonably enough.

But wisely, considering how that knee has let him down in the past and most particularly of late, he admits it is too early to say whether Wednesday's cortisone injection has done the trick.

"We'll have to see how the knee responds over the next 48 hours," said Vaughan.

By then, of course, the First Test in Nagpur will be only three days away - and if he does miss that game then his future on this tour, and perhaps beyond, is bound to become the subject of fresh speculation.

Out in the middle, Vaughan's team looked in need of an injection - of inspiration - while taking just two wickets before tea. But even though the temperature again climbed to 100 degrees and they were a bowler short because of Liam Plunkett's bruised left heel, England refused to wilt. What's more, they had enough stamina to use the second new ball impressively during the final session.

With Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison charging in, the President's men went from 269 for three at tea to 342 for eight before declaring, 104 runs ahead.

By the close, the deficit had been reduced by 10 runs - but not without cost.

Andrew Strauss's sketchy start to the trip continued when he snicked Munaf Patel to second slip.

Flintoff said: "You know it's going to be hot but it was OK and it's important we get overs under our belt. I went through the gears a little bit today. …

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