Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Frustrated Skipper Praises Side's Effort

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Frustrated Skipper Praises Side's Effort

Article excerpt

MICHAEL Vaughan said he was staggered and frustrated last night after South Africa batted for more than two days to salvage a draw from the first Test at Lord's.

The England captain (pictured left) admitted he and his team were full of hope they would be going 1-0 up in this four-match series, having forced the tourists to follow on 346 runs behind.

But the 'Lord's factor' then kicked in as South Africa's top three, Graeme Smith (107), Neil McKenzie (138) and Hashim Amla (104 not out), each dug in on a pitch which - true to type - appeared to go to sleep. "It was frustrating," Vaughan confirmed, after McKenzie in particular had shut out England - batting nine-and-a-quarter hours and keeping out 446 balls.

By the time he finally went, caught behind to his 447th, both teams knew the job was as good as done for South Africa - and the stalemate was confirmed shortly before 5pm today.

"The first three days, we were outstanding; the last two days, we gave it everything and tried every trick in the book," Vaughan added. "Full credit to South Africa - for the way they batted - but I can't fault or ask any more of my players than what they gave out there."

The resignation, as Vaughan accepted this outcome and predicted England will be back up for it in the next Test at Headingley later this week, was in contrast to the optimism which ran through the home ranks on Saturday evening.

"After we got 593 and then bowled them out for 247, we all thought the game was there to win," Vaughan conceded. "I'm staggered. On the third day, we bowled them out and thought there was plenty of action in the wicket.

"There was carry, and Monty (Panesar) seemed to be spinning it quite sharply.

"But the last six games here have all been draws - which tells you that the wicket gets better and better."

Vaughan insists his bowlers did nothing wrong second time round but simply could not make things happen as the pace went out of the pitch. …

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