| Smith is keen to make three double centuries in a row
Nottingham: England captain Michael Vaughan played down suggestions his captaincy style is too relaxed on the eve of the third Test against South Africa.
Vaughan knows his side, crushed by innings and 92 runs last week at Lord’s, must improve considerably to avoid going 0-2 down in the five-test series, but he will not change his style.
“People have said that I am too soft but I can assure you I’m not,” the 28-year-old told a news conference on Wednesday. “If I’m smiling and relaxed on the pitch then that’s because it’s my way of doing it. “I’m a pretty relaxed and calm character.”
Vaughan said his team’s performance at Lord’s, his first Test in charge, had been unacceptable. “We just didn’t play well enough at Lord’s,” he said. “We were well below par.
“But we have had a good honest chat about it and we know we have got to get our discipline right in all three areas.”
South Africa captain Graeme Smith has plundered 621 runs in the series, including two double centuries, and Vaughan knows his bowlers must find a way of dismissing the tall left-hander to give England a chance of victory.
“We have got a decent plan to get Smith out but at Lord’s the bowlers didn’t quite carry it out,” he said.
“We did create an opportunity but unfortunately we didn’t take it. As a bowling unit we have to be more disciplined.”
Vaughan was referring to Nasser Hussain’s simple dropped catch when Smith had made just eight before going on to 259, but the Yorkshireman said he was delighted his predecessor as England captain is still in the side.
“He’s (Hussain) a strong character full of experience who gives a lot of input into the team,” he said. “He’s a hell of a role model for the younger players and the way he’s practised over the last couple of days has been a great example to them.”
Vaughan said it was up to the England players to match the efforts of Smith and South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, who took 10 wickets at Lord’s.
“It’s down to individuals to put up their hands to score big hundreds or take a load of wickets,” he said. “If they can do that then we have a hell of a chance.”
Vaughan confirmed that Kent batsman Ed Smith would make his debut at Trent Bridge, but said the seam attack would be finalised on the morning of the match with James Kirtley also in contention to play his first Test.
Meanwhile, Smith kept his feet firmly on the ground in spite of the resounding success. “We have played some great cricket and got some momentum going but we are starting fresh from tomorrow and have to knuckle down again,” he said.
“This is a big game for me mentally. Another double century would be huge for me but I have to start again fresh. I am always hungry to do well as a batter.”
South Africa should be boosted by the return of all rounder Jacques Kallis, who missed the first two Tests.
“It’s great to have him back,” said Smith. “We know what a great cricketer he is and he’s also a solid character to have back in the dressing room.”
South Africa failed to capitalise on leading test series in England in both 1994 and 1998 but Smith does not think that will concern his players.
“We are aware of that fact, but we are a new side and we just have to concentrate on reproducing the kind of cricket we played in the first two Tests,” he said.