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England out to show they can win without Vaughan

November 11, 2005 10:44 IST

England must quickly come to terms with the absence of Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan when the first Test against Pakistan begins on Saturday.

The touring side's plans suffered a huge setback when Vaughan's knee injury ruled him out on Thursday, handing the Test captaincy to Marcus Trescothick for only the second time.

The inspirational Yorkshireman will be badly missed in a country where England have won just two out of 21 Tests.

However, Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said the injury to Vaughan, who steered England to a historic 2-1 Ashes series win over Australia, could work both ways.

"Vaughan's absence will either leave the England players upset and not in a position to play to true form or it will bring them together and they will be harder to beat," he said.

Trescothick's only other experience as test captain also came as a result of Vaughan's knee which sidelined him for last year's test against New Zealand at Lord's.

The stand-in skipper believes the team's form over the last 18 months, they have won 12 out of 14 Tests, will help them get over the loss of such a key player.

"We are all up for the challenge on Saturday," he said.

With Vaughan's replacement, the 20-year-old Essex opening batsman Alistair Cook still to join the team, England are expected to give the vital number three berth to either Ian Bell or Paul Collingwood.

The batting remains a major concern for England as they have managed totals of just 256 for nine, 112, 126 and 256 in their two warm-up games. Trescothick's century in Rawalpindi was the only century so far by an England batsman.

Kevin Pietersen, who played such a stunning role in downing Australia, has struggled to adjust to the low bounce and pace of the Pakistani pitches, managing just 16 runs in four innings.


If England are to become the best team in the world, the back-to-back tours of Pakistan and India will be a true test of their credentials.

The last time England toured Pakistan in 2000 they surprised the hosts with a Test win in Karachi in an exciting finish in fading light.

This time, however, Pakistan under former England player and high-profile coach Woolmer and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, appear better prepared for their home series.

"The preparations have been very good and smooth and I think we covered all our bases," Woolmer said. "It should be an interesting series."

Pakistan are looking at the series to redeem their reputation at Test level as, unlike their one-day form and ranking, their performances in the five-day code have been unsatisfactory for two years.

They have not won a Test series at home since a victory over South Africa in 2003 and they have lost two and drawn three out of their last five series.

England will be relieved that they are not walking into any spin trap in Multan as the Test surface is dry and hard and curator Agha Zahid assured it would be a good Test wicket.

With an exceptional all rounder like Andrew Flintoff, a wily spinner in Ashley Giles and a genuine quick in Steve Harmison, Pakistan will take England, even without Vaughan, lightly at their own peril.


England (from): Marcus Trescothick (Capt), Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, Geraint Jones, Matthew Prior, Ashley Giles, Shaun Udal, Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, James Anderson, Liam Plunkett and Alex Loudon.

Pakistan (from): Inzamam-ul-Haq (Capt), Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Asim Kamal, Hasan Raza, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Rana Naved, Shabbir Ahmed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Danish Kaneria and Arshad Khan.

Umpires: Simon Taufel (Aust)-Billy Bowden (New Zealand)

TV umpire: Asad Rauf (Pakistan)

Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka).

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