x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Vaughan refuses to find excuses for loss

A "confused" selection unsettled England at Headingley - but Michael Vaughan insists neither factor could be blamed for defeat

Vaughan says the team didn't
Vaughan says the team didn't "feel like a unit."

LEEDS // A "confused" selection and controversy over disallowed catches unsettled England at Headingley - but Michael Vaughan insists neither factor could be blamed for defeat against South Africa. England's 10-wicket humbling followed untypical last-minute rethinks on the morning of the second Test which resulted in a shock debut for seamer Darren Pattinson. But after his team went 1-0 down in this four-match series, Vaughan stressed the bottom line was simply that 11 men did not reach their potential. "It does look a confused selection - but the selection of one person does not lose you a Test match," he said.

"We lost a Test match because we didn't play well enough." An unbeaten half-century from Stuart Broad (67 not out) spared England only the embarrassment of a first innings defeat since these same opponents last toured five years ago - and Vaughan did not seek to pretend this was anything other than a comprehensive loss. He did, however, cite the mitigation of injury to Ryan Sidebottom - which led to a call-up for Pattinson who had only 11 first-class matches behind him. "The whole Friday morning unsettled the team," he said.

"You change the team by two players, have players moving out of position and leave someone like Paul Collingwood out ... of course it has an effect." "I always have a belief in being a unit, having togetherness in Test cricket - and we didn't feel as much of a unit this week. But a lot of us are experienced and we still should and could have coped with it better." Vaughan was at pains to stop Pattinson from becoming a scapegoat. "It's not his fault; he got selected and turned up and tried his guts out.

"I felt sorry for him, because he'd obviously not been in the set-up, around the environment - and didn't know anyone. That makes it very, very difficult for him to play." * PA Sport