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Middle-order worries Vaughan

England captain Michael Vaughan admitted the performance of his team's middle-order was a worry after they lost to Zimbabwe by four wickets in the opening tri-series one-dayer.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2003 11:19 IST

England captain Michael Vaughan admitted the performance of his team's middle-order was a worry after they lost to Zimbabwe by four wickets in the opening triangular series one-day international at Trent Bridge here on Thursday.

Sent in to bat, England only managed 191 for eight in 50 overs.

But, as in their 2-1 series win over Pakistan, Marcus Trescothick (38) got England off to a flyer only for the rest of the batting, Andrew Flintoff's 53 excepted, to squander the start.

England's bowlers almost got them out of jail again, reducing Zimbabwe to 15 for four, before Grant Flower (96 not out) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (44) turned the tide.

But Vaughan was in no doubt why England had lost. "At 15 for four you can say we should have won it but when you are defending such a small total it only takes one partnership.

"Like Old Trafford (where England lost the series opener against Pakistan) we didn't get enough runs. We just didn't bat well and we got the best of the wicket.

"Every game so far we've had 80 runs off 15 overs but from 15-30 we go into a bunker or lose wickets."

Vaughan said England's inexperience was to blame - for this match Kent batsman Robert Key made his one-day international debut and his 11-ball 37 hardly made him look more impressive than the man he replaced, Jim Troughton.

Warwickshire left-hander Troughton was dropped after his three innings against Pakistan yielded just 26 runs although his fielding skills were missed in a match where England dropped four catches.

"We're miles behind everyone else in the amount of international cricket we play," Yorkshire batsman Vaughan, 28, insisted.

"Grant Flower's played over 200 one-day internationals, all in the middle order and the way he paced his innings it showed."

Vaughan, Test cricket's leading scorer in 2002, has failed to impose himself since being unveiled as England's new one-day captain after Test skipper Nasser Hussain quit the "pyjama game" after the team's first round exit from the World Cup.

Against Zimbabwe he looked in good touch before he gave his wicket away on 13. "It's disappointing. I feel OK. But every time I make that one little mistake it's costing me my wicket," Vaughan added.

However, he poured cold water on suggestions that either he might drop down the order or that England might recall Graham Thorpe.

Thorpe, 33, opted out of England's winter campaign because of personal problems but is acknowledged as one of the best middle-order batsmen in world cricket, the Surrey left-hander adept at keeping an innings ticking over.

"It's something we'll discuss with the coach (Vaughan dropping down to middle-order)."

And as for a possible Thorpe comeback, Vaughan added: "This squad was picked for the one-day series. We'll stick with it."

England's next triangular match is against South Africa at The Oval on Saturday.

First Published: Jun 27, 2003 01:30 IST