England still far from being No. 1: Vaughan
by AFP

Player:MP Vaughan
Event:England in Pakistan 2005/06

DateLine: 4th December 2005


Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan conceded Saturday that England needed to learn and improve if they wanted to realise their dream of becoming the number-one side in Test cricket.


"We are still a long way from becoming the number-one team in the world because we have not played everywhere," Vaughan said after his team lost by an innings and 100 runs in the third and final Test against Pakistan here.


England lost the series 2-0 following this defeat. They went down by 22 runs in the opening Test at Multan before salvaging a draw in the second at Faisalabad.


"We are still a very good team and we just have to make sure we learn and learn fast in these conditions," Vaughan said after losing his first-ever Test series in two-and-half years as England captain.


Vaughan had told his team-mates after their famous Ashes victory at home in September that they needed to succeed in the sub-continent to displace Australia as the number-one Test side.


"We now go to India in February and March and make sure that the mistakes that were made here were not repeated. It's hard work playing in the sub-continent and players have to realise that," he said.


"A real test of a team's unity is when you lose a series like this. If the team stayed together which I am sure they will, we work hard when we go to India for Test series.


"We will try to play better in one-dayers (against Pakistan) and make sure we go to India as a better team."


England are scheduled to play five one-dayers against Pakistan, the first beginning here on December 10.


Vaughan said lack of application was the main reason for his team's big defeat in the final Test.


"When you are outplayed, you don't deserve to win. Paul and Ian got us through to lunch, but after that Shoaib (Akhtar) produced a good spell of bowling and (Danish) Kaneria took a couple of quick wickets," he said.


"We just could not apply ourselves in these conditions, with Shoaib bowling a mystery of slow balls, yorkers and bouncers. He bowled good spells throughout the series. He was the main difference.


"He was a massive threat as he got our key batsmen out at crucial times. It has been a surprise that he sustained his consistency and discipline. His line has been excellent. In each spell he bowled beautiful slow balls."


England looked like saving the match when they reached 201-2 at lunch, thanks to Bell (92) and Collingwood (80).


But they lost their last eight wickets for a meagre 47 runs in less than 13 overs, with paceman Akhtar finishing with 5-71 and leg-spinner Kaneria with


"To be honest, they played better cricket than us," said Vaughan.


"You can look back to Multan and say we should have won that game, but throughout the series Pakistan put us under pressure more than we did.


"Throughout the series, we have not applied ourselves as best as we could. Our bowlers have tried as hard as they can, but did not put their batsmen under enough pressure.


"We claimed 20 wickets in the first Test, but since then we have not been able to put them under pressure."


England were dismissed for 175 chasing a 198-run target on a wearing fifth-day track at Multan.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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