Vaughan: Cocky England took foot off the gas at Perth

Monday, December 20, 2010

LONDON - Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan believes that Andrew Strauss’s boys took their foot off the gas to let Australia run away with the Perth Test.

He believes that after bundling Australia out for 268 in the first innings of the third Ashes Test, England had no business to collapse for 187, and allow the Kangaroos to build a formidable second innings total and win the match.

“Only the players can answer this, that on the second morning when England were cruising they took their foot off the gas and relaxed,” Vaughan writes in an article for The Telegraph.

“They might have thought Australia’s 268 in the first innings was 150 runs short. The Australian press was hammering their team. The back page of the West Australian newspaper had a big picture of the four selectors with eggs superimposed on their faces and I just got a sense on day two that England were a bit cocky,” he adds.

Praising Mitchell Johnson’s wonderful spell of bowling (6 for 38 and nine for the match), Vaughan said: “The lads have to realize when they face Johnson you have two options. You are either going to get a bouncer or one hitting the wickets. You have to play for your stumps. I don’t mind guys edging, but I don’t want to see lbw because that is what the left-armer is setting them up for.”

“The majority of our lads were caught off full length balls. They were not as committed with their forward play as they were at Adelaide or Brisbane.

Basically that was because they were thinking about the short ball, which was flying through fast. To have Johnson looking like he is firing is a huge threat for England because not only has he got that ball moving, he has got his confidence back. Once you give a player like that confidence he can be devastating,” he added.

He also said that it is time for Kevin Pietersen to come in at number five or six and allow in form Ian Bell to bat at number four or five.

“Bell is playing too well. I have been calling him The Shepherd over the past few days because all he does is lead the tail. His form is too good for that. At five he could win an Ashes match. At six he will only save one,” said Vaughan.

“Colly (Paul Collingwood) needs runs. He has been in this position probably five or six times in his career. He has to come out fighting. Be positive and play his shots. That is when he plays his best cricket. At the moment he is tentative and they are bowling well at him,” he added.

On the bowling front, Vaughan said England need to make more use of Graeme Swann.

“The spinner is key to a four-man attack so for Swann to bowl only nine overs in the second innings is madness. On day one he bowled a beauty to get Mike Hussey out. It is a long time since we had a spinner who could do that,” he said.

He concluded by saying that: “This defeat will inject a bit of realism. All the talk of sealing the Ashes before Christmas is over. England has to regroup because this Ashes series will keep swinging both ways. We are in for two fascinating Tests.” (ANI)

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