Vaughan under pressure as England seek fightback

Birmingham, July 28:

England captain Michael Vaughan returns to the scene of one of the most significant events of his cricket career as his team seek to turn around their fortunes in the second Test against South Africa at Edgbaston starting on Wednesday.

Vaughan is under pressure, with his team trailing 1-0 in the four-match series and his own batting form under scrutiny after he scored only 23 runs in three innings in the first two Tests.

But it was at the same ground against the same opponents five years ago that Vaughan hit a masterly 156 and soon afterwards became England’s Test captain when Nasser Hussain resigned after the match.

It was also at Edgbaston that England snatched a two-run win over Australia in 2005, after losing the first Test, on the way to winning the Ashes.

Further encouragement for Vaughan is that South African fast bowler Dale Steyn, who dismissed him for two in the first Test at Lord’s and two in the second match at Headingley, has been ruled out because of a broken left thumb.

Vaughan was held at least partly responsible for the selection debacle at Headingley where England opted for a five-man bowling attack which included the almost unknown England-born but Australian-raised Darren Pattinson, a move which Vaughan admitted had unsettled his team.

Pattinson was not included when England named a 13-man squad for Edgbaston but England still face a selection dilemma.

Left-arm swing bowler Ryan Sidebottom, whose injury-enforced absence led to Pattinson’s call-up, is expected to return to the side. If they opt for the latter it will again mean no place for Paul Collingwood.

There are no selection problems for South Africa, whose only change is likely to be the return of experienced fast bowler Andre Nel in place of Steyn. South Africa’s batsmen have been solid, with five of the top six making centuries in the first two Tests. The only exception is Jacques Kallis. Kallis signalled a return to form with unbeaten 70 and 55 against Bangladesh A.