Vaughan back for 'semi-final' against Kiwis

Australia performed a very un-Australian act yesterday in Melbourne - they did something that put a smile on the face of the England cricket team. In defeating New Zealand by five wickets Ricky Ponting's side ensured that England have now only to beat the Black Caps in Brisbane tomorrow to qualify for the finals of the Commonwealth Bank Series. If New Zealand had successfully defended their huge total of 290 England's inferior run-rate would have left them needing a comprehensive victory, with a bonus point, to extend their stay in Australia.

There was further good news for England when Michael Vaughan announced that he expects to play in what is now effectively a semi-final. Vaughan will put his injured hamstring through a final test today, and if he feels no discomfort he will resume his duties as captain.

"My chances of playing are very good," he said. "I've come through four or five days of hard practice and I have done a lot of running. If I get through Monday's practice session I will be available for selection on Tuesday."

Vaughan did not want to say where he would be batting but he is expected to open at the expense of Mal Loye, who has shown promise at the top of the order but is yet to post a significant score. Vaughan will open with Ed Joyce, who booked himself a World Cup place on Friday when he scored a superb hundred against Australia.

England will contemplate other changes to the side that comprehensively defeated Australia in Sydney. But should they? Should Paul Collingwood return at the expense of Ravi Bopara, and should a fit again Jon Lewis replace Sajid Mahmood? Changing a winning side is frowned upon by many, especially when it could be the only England team to beat Australia this winter.

Bopara showed promise standing in for an ill Collingwood on his England debut. The Essex all-rounder did not have lot to do but he did not look overawed by the occasion and displayed some pleasant touches with bat and ball. Lewis offers consistency but the pace and hostility of Mahmood unsettled the Aussies and could well do the same to the Kiwis.

The Brisbane pitch offers fast bowlers assistance and England may play Lewis and Mahmood, which could result in Monty Panesar missing out. Dropping Panesar would be a shame because he has bowled well against New Zealand, conceding less than four runs an over, so another option would be to omit the second spinner, Jamie Dalrymple, in order to play the strongest seam attack and the best spinner.

New Zealand will be disheartened after losing a match they ought to have won but England will need another good performance to beat Stephen Fleming's men. New Zealand have scored 335, 318 and 290 in their past three games so England's bowlers must be at their best.

Vaughan said last week that he did not see England's dreadful batting in Adelaide coming, and he admitted yesterday that he was equally surprised by the display against Australia on Friday.

"I don't think any of us saw the performance in Sydney coming," he said. "You could not get further extremes than our performance at Sydney and those in Adelaide. Friday was how we want to play. It was no-frills cricket. We stuck to the basics of batting and bowling and achieved a good victory. We played the game we wanted to play. Ed Joyce and Ian Bell gave us a good solid start at the top of the innings - it allowed the lower order to come out and express themselves. It was old-school one-day cricket but we feel it gives us the best chance of posting good totals with the squad we have.

"The win over Australia was a big, big win for us because you do get a lot of confidence from playing like that against the No 1 side in the world. But I must stress it is only one performance and we need to play like that on a regular basis. We must do it again on Tuesday. Tuesday will be a true test of how far we have come because it is a pressure game for us. There is no point producing a performance like that to get us back in the competition, only to let it all slip against New Zealand."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition