Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Wary of Previous Mishaps

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Wary of Previous Mishaps

Article excerpt


MEMORIES of Old Trafford 12 months ago were enough to keep England on their guard when they returned to Lord's today with a Test match to save.

Michael Vaughan, Marcus Trescothick, Mark Butcher and Nasser Hussain put enough runs on the board in sufficiently confident style yesterday to have some home supporters contemplating an outrageous victory over Sri Lanka.

But century-maker Vaughan put the situation into perspective. "First and foremost we need to save the game," he said.

Vaughan had thoroughly enjoyed the "fantastic feeling" of scoring his second Test century while helping England to 321 for two - and a lead of 41 - after being forced to follow-on.

But the Yorkshire batsman's only other hundred at this level was made in a losing cause, hence his caution.

A year ago, England's Test fortunes were on a high. They had just won four consecutive series and a fifth triumph seemed inevitable when Pakistan were beaten at Lord's before apparently being subdued at Old Trafford.

By tea on the final day of that contest in Manchester, a draw appeared to be the only realistic result. Amid some umpiring blunders, however, the home team disintegrated from 201 for two to 261 all out - and lost by 108 runs.

That was the beginning of the end of England's purple patch, in terms of results. A drawn series against Pakistan was followed, almost inevitably, by a thumping Ashes defeat. Then came another loss in India before the recent 1-1 scoreline on New Zealand soil.

Sri Lanka's arrival in England in early summer was supposed to herald another change in fortunes.

Instead, the seamer-friendly Lord's pitch of recent years refused to materialise, England bowled poorly and then batted loosely and it was the visitors who celebrated for three days. …

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