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England a long way off from winning the Ashes in Australia – Michael Vaughan

England's Stuart Board bowling against Pakistan
England's Stuart Board bowling against Pakistan

Michael Vaughan says that England’s Test team have made progress this summer, but their bowling attack is still a long way off from being able to win in India and Australia next year.

William Hill ambassador Michael Vaughan was speaking ahead of the 3rd a final Test, of the three match Test series, against Pakistan.

“The England Test match team, I think they are going down a decent path,” Vaughan told William Hill. “Whether it’s a path that will take them to winning in India and Australia, at this stage, I’m not too sure that’s possible because I still think they need to give more opportunities to pace bowlers. 

“When the ball doesn’t swing around, I still think they struggle to get 20 wickets. In English conditions now they’ve not lost for 14 series, which tells you that they’re very powerful with the Dukes ball and when the ball’s moving around Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad quite simply are magnificent, so that run doesn’t surprise me.

“England [also] need to find a high-class spinner and work either with Dom Bess for a longer period to give him more opportunities, or Jack Leach, Matt Parkinson from Lancashire, there’s talk of Adil Rashid coming back into the Test team – I’m not too sure about that.

“I’m not too sure how committed he is to being a Test match player. He’s not playing in four-day cricket for Yorkshire, he’s had that dodgy shoulder. Is it just best that Adil Rashid stays in the white ball team and becomes possibly England’s greatest ever white ball bowler?”

In terms of England’s batting department, Vaughan feels England are in a good place following an impressive summer for Dom Sibley.

“Dom Sibley has been the standout England player of the summer,” Vaughan said. “I don’t think Dom Sibley gets the credit he deserves. He’s had a magnificent summer, over 300 Test match runs – more than anybody else – plays with great attrition, knows his game plan.

“He’s probably not as beautiful on the eye as some, he doesn’t play the glorious cover drives and cut strokes, but he’s just got a method that works for him. He waits for those straight balls, he works it on the on-side, so I think it’s now time to start giving Dom Sibley a huge amount of praise. I like what I see in him.”

England will be hoping they get to play more cricket in the third Test against Pakistan after a weather-hit second Test was forced to end in a draw following a combination of rain and bad light.

Vaughan says something needs to be done by the ICC to ensure more cricket is able to be played in future in the face of poor conditions.

“What a week that was – frustration all round,” Vaughan said. “Quite simply Test match cricket needs to find a solution to this problem with the light, particularly here in the UK where we seem to get hit a lot more than most parts of the world with the light.

“It was a terrible look for the game with the umpires taking the players off this week – don’t blame the umpires, they’re just working on the protocol at the minute. We have to find a coloured ball that works in those conditions. The pink ball? If it’s not the pink ball, work with the manufacturers to provide us with a brighter, redder ball that can be used when the lights are on and it’s a bit grim. Quite simply, the game has to find a solution.”

Vaughan added: “Hopefully they’ll stay on the pitch [in the third test] when the lights come on but maybe not because we’re using this same red ball that doesn’t seem to work!”

As for the third Test, Vaughan is predicting better weather and an England win.

“This Test series has been decent,” he said. “I thought the cricket that we got in Southampton [in the second Test] was riveting because the pitch had lots of action, lots of movement, not easy for the batsman, and I think that’ll be the same in the last Test match.

“I said at the start of the series that England would win 2-0 and I’m not moving from that. I think there will be a result, I believe the weather is going to be better for the third Test match and I think England will win the Test and win the series 2-0.

“Anderson looked in form, so did Broad, so you can back one of those two. With the bat in hand, I would go for the captain Joe Root now he’s back at number four. For Pakistan, Babar Azam simply and Mohammad Abbas, you can’t move from him with his little wobblers.”

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