Vaughan counts the cost of a depressing day

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The Independent Online

Michael Vaughan was fined his match fee of £5,500 last night for criticising the umpires in the Fourth Test. It is the heaviest punishment ever imposed on an England captain under the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct, but it was hardly the end of Vaughan's worries as the match and series against South Africa entered yet another gripping phase.

England yesterday looked a side who had played four Test matches in four weeks. The only consolation was that so did South Africa. After England audaciously declared at their overnight 411 for 8, hoping to take advantage of cloud cover which promptly became sunshine, South Africa replied with 306 for 6.

Anybody's game then, but bits are beginning to fall off England and Vaughan can do nothing about it. Yesterday alone, Stephen Harmison, Ashley Giles and Geraint Jones suffered blows to various limbs.

The most disturbing was Harmison's calf injury. He pulled up with one ball to go of his 13th over, went off for treatment and eventually came back. But he was limping and did not bowl, apparently signalling to his captain that he could not.

Poor Harmison has had a wretched series, and it will take all his dwindling reserves of confidence finally to show South Africa what he can do.Vaughan was punished for comments he had made to the media about the umpires when play was ended because of bad light on Friday minutes before the ground was bathed in sunshine. His comments were measured and probably wholly accurate but the code is clear. He was hauled to a hearing with match referee Clive Lloyd, who charged him under the regulation forbidding public criticism of umpires.

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