Impossible result achieved by amazing effort says Vaughan

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The Independent Online

There were two results possible when play started at the Wanderers yesterday and neither involved an England victory. This demonstrates that predicting what Michael Vaughan's team can do is in the same category as pitch reading and astrology as a science.

There were two results possible when play started at the Wanderers yesterday and neither involved an England victory. This demonstrates that predicting what Michael Vaughan's team can do is in the same category as pitch reading and astrology as a science.

"The opinion of a lot of so-called experts was that only a South African win or a draw was possible," Vaughan said without crowing. "The opinion of our team was that if we came and batted well for the first hour and a half the game was there for us to win. We never say we can't win a game just because other people write that we can't.

"Marcus Trescothick's innings was very, very special and the way that Tres took the game to South Africa and the fast scoring allowed us to declare in a fashion that we could set attacking fields. But you've still got to put the ball in the right area and Hoggy and the other three seam bowlers did that. With the attacking fields it meant we could go on and win the game. It is a very, very special victory.

"We've had some great wins over the last year but to bowl out a South African team with nine batters is a truly amazing effort."

Amazing barely began to describe it considering the state of play at the start of the fifth day when South Africa had England 197 for five, only 189 on. Quick incisions then, and they might have dashed to victory. But South Africa's captain, Graeme Smith, made no excuses.

"We had to bat two sessions and didn't do that. There weren't enough partnerships in the middle order. Credit has to go to Matthew Hoggard who bowled superbly, got the ball to swing, got it in the right areas and made the wicket look as though it was doing something."

Smith, who scored an unbeaten 67 and was unjustifiably booed by English fans at the end batted against medical advice. He was still dizzy with concussion after being hit by a ball during fielding practice the previous day. "I was very drowsy with headaches but I had to bat, it was nice to get some runs and it's pity they weren't in a worthy cause. The middle order needs to have a hard look at themselves, we're losing too many quick wickets at the moment."

Vaughan said: "It was a difficult game mentally, it was 1-1 after Cape Town, the practice before was intense. We'll have a couple of days off and then go and show that same intensity at Centurion." It would be foolish to forecast anything else.

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