Graeme Smith, South Africa's captain, sensed something was amiss with England in the first Test, but he was still aghast to hear Nasser Hussain announce his resignation as captain at the close of play. He said: "It has come as a surprise, but Nasser obviously feels it is the best way forward for their side."
Smith had plenty of time in the middle during his South African record Test score of 277 and his second-innings 85, and he felt something was wrong. "It was quite different out there. It is difficult to say what caused that," he said. "They were a touch quieter than I expected, but probably that was because they were on the back foot."
He also thinks that the elevation of Michael Vaughan to the captaincy in succession to Hussain may make England's best batsman more vulnerable than he appeared in making what he called his best Test hundred so far in the first innings.
"Being captain definitely places a little bit more pressure on Vaughan again," Smith said. "He has just been playing as a batsman here, so he will have more to think about. It may be that will weigh on his shoulders, although he handled it well in the one-day series. Still, it could be a breakthrough for us from that point of view."
He believes his side will take a psychological advantage into the second Test starting at Lord's on Thursday, irrespective of who captains England, because they dominated at Edgbaston, even without Jacques Kallis, who was on compassionate leave at home because his father died.
Smith, whose side lost heavily to an England team captained by Vaughan in the NatWest Series of one-day matches earlier this month, will turn his attention back to the new man at the helm. "I had been reading up on Hussain. But now I suppose I'll have to read up on Vaughan again instead," he said.Reuse content