Don't blame Pattinson for defeat, says Vaughan

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 7:01 [IST]
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LEEDS: England captain Michael Vaughan said controversial debutant Darren Pattinson had "tried his guts out" as he cleared him of blame for the team's 10-wicket second Test thrashing by South Africa.

However, Vaughan admitted England's selection policy appeared "confused" after the Proteas went 1-0 up in the four-Test series, with two to play, after the drawn opener at Lord's.

Pace bowler Pattinson, born in the east coast English port town of Grimsby but brought up in Australia, was all set to take his family to an amusement park when he found himself thrust onto a rollercoaster of a different kind as England handed him a shock debut.

"It does look a confused selection - but the selection of one person does not lose you a Test match," said Vaughan, who saw his 50th Test as England captain end in a big defeat with a day to spare here Monday at his Headingley home ground.

"We lost a Test match because we didn't play well enough."

Now the most famous former roof tiler in England, the soon-to-be 30-year-old Pattinson's elevation to Test status after just 11 first-class appearances in place of injured Nottinghamshire colleague Ryan Sidebottom was a debating point in itself.

But what really angered the likes of former England captain Graham Gooch was the selectors' readiness to hand a cap to a man who made his name with Melbourne club side Dandenong when there were homegrown alternatives such as Matthew Hoggard and Simon Jones available.

Gooch's fire was directed solely on his former Essex and England colleague Geoff Miller, now England's national selector, not Pattinson.

And Pattinson, who only made his first-class debut for Australian state side Victoria, certainly did as much as could reasonably be expected of anyone making their Test bow as a bowler on a good pitch by taking two wickets for 95 runs in 30 grafting overs during the Proteas' first innings 522.

He also showed plenty of heart with the bat, hanging around for over 45 minutes on Monday after coming in at No 11 and helping Stuart Broad, who top-scored with 67 not out, add 61 for the last wicket.

"Darren has taken a lot of criticism," said Vaughan. "It's not his fault he got selected. He turned up and tried his guts out - and at times he bowled some good spells.

"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."

Pattinson's efforts with the bat helped England avoid the even greater embarrassment of an innings defeat - something they last suffered on home soil five years ago against South Africa at Lord's.

But Vaughan said his selection and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff's return in place of the popular Paul Collingwood, with all its knock-on effects for the batting order, had disturbed England's collective peace of mind.

"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 huge belief in being a unit, having togetherness in Test match cricket - and we didn't feel as much of a unit this week. But a lot of us are experienced and we still should have coped with it better."

And it was the batsmen who were most at fault after England were bowled out for just 203 in their first innings and 327 in their second.

"We got ourselves in a half-decent position, 106 for three - and then played like millionaires in the afternoon," said No 3 Vaughan who managed just 21 runs in the match, including a first innings nought.

"We are a better batting unit than 203. Certainly the top five, we didn't bat well enough."

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