Steyn gatecrashes Vaughan's 50th party
Posted in England v South Africa - 2008
So, the first day of Michael Vaughan’s 50th Test as England captain did not go as he would have wanted.
Having lost the toss and been put into bat under overcast skies on his home ground, Headingley Carnegie, he fell for nought to a snorter from Dale Steyn.
Vaughan will hope that his fortunes improve during the remainder of the second npower Test having also failed to register a meaningful score in England’s only innings at Lord’s.
Steyn was also his undoing on that occasion with another virtually unplayable delivery that uprooted his off stump.
Vaughan received another ball today that would have done for any batsman, taking the outside edge to the safe hands of Graeme Smith at first slip.
Steyn’s delivery was moving away from the right-hander when it pitched on a near-perfect length and kissed high up on the outside edge.
Vaughan, whose first Test as captain was also against the Proteas, at Lord’s in 2003, has experienced mixed fortunes against the South Africans.
That inaugural Test as skipper five years ago ended in defeat, having taken the reigns from Nasser Hussain after the drawn first Test at Edgbaston.
Earlier that summer Vaughan had taken over the one-day captaincy from Hussain following the 2003 World Cup - a somewhat surprising memory given Vaughan’s absence from the current one-day side.
He quickly asserted himself in the Test arena as England struck back at Trent Bridge and again at the Oval to draw the series.
Vaughan took England one better in his next meeting with Smith’s side during the 2004/5 winter tour.
The tourists’ 2-1 victory in the Test series was the highlight of the Yorkshireman’s Test career, even better than the 3-0 demolition of West Indies the previous winter.
The 2005 Ashes victory, of course, superseded all Vaughan’s previous achievements as captain and meant the following years would carry an extra burden of expectation.
A knee injury saw him return home early from the following tour of Pakistan and Vaughan’s knees would trouble him for much of the next two years.
This included England’s Ashes defence in 2006/7 when Vaughan’s astute decision-making and ability to motivate his team-mates was sorely missed.
Vaughan returned to the Test arena last summer, continuing as captain, and fortunately his knees have stood up to the subsequent action.
Naturally, thoughts of Australia’s return next summer will be in the corner of is mind but for now he must concentrate on the current opposition who are second only to the Aussies.
Finger’s crossed, his half-centenary Test in charge will deliver greater rewards in the days to come.