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July 26, 2007
England were lacking the services of every single member of the five-man attack that bowled England to victory over Australia in 2005, but in James Anderson, Ryan Sidebottom and Chris Tremlett - not to mention the wiles of Monty Panesar, England's best attacking spinner for a generation - they have identified a quartet of cricketers who can spur the senior men back to greater heights.
"It's always healthy to have competition for places because it keeps you on your toes," said Vaughan. "We look like we might be getting to that stage where we have a good pool of bowlers, but the amount of Test matches that are played now during the summer and the winter you're going to need that amount of bowlers. The fresher we can keep them the better - we've just got to make sure we keep everyone fit and everyone bowling well and then we have a tough decision to make."
Both Steve Harmison (hernia) and Andrew Flintoff (ankle) have been ruled out for the remainder of the Test series. Matthew Hoggard, who featured for England in 40 consecutive Tests from 2004, has now been missing or injured in four of the last five, dating back to the Sydney Test in January, and will be closely monitored ahead of the Oval Test after suffering a back spasm. Simon Jones, meanwhile, has been out of the reckoning for 18 months with a knee problem, and Ashley Giles is struggling to return to full fitness after suffering a series of hip problems.
"It would be nice to have that situation where we had all the bowlers fit and bowling well and see what would be the best combination to go into a game," said Vaughan. "Until that day arises it's very difficult to say who would get into the side. It was a very impressive display from all the guys who played at Lord's. They worked well as a unit, which is something we haven't probably done that well since 2005."
Even without the 2005 stars, England had the better of India over the five days at Lord's, with Anderson leading the attack with seven wickets including 5 for 42 in the first innings. Sidebottom helped himself to six while Tremlett, the debutant, shook India's batsmen with his height and extra bounce, and finished with four wickets including three in the second innings.
It was, according to Vaughan, "gut instinct" that earned Tremlett a place ahead of his fellow uncapped seamer, Stuart Broad. "Chris's bounce to any batsman in the world is very hard to face, but we felt the Indians in particular weren't as used to the steep bounce as many batsmen because of the wickets they play on in India," he explained. "We felt his bounce could be the difference between the two sides, particularly if it got flat."
Vaughan was speaking to the media at England's academy in nearby Loughborough, after further torrential rain had left large puddles on the Trent Bridge outfield. It meant that the squad was unable to practice on Wednesday, but Vaughan was happy to have an enforced day of relaxation in the middle of back-to-back Tests.
"Today we had a real focus to our session," he said. "You can never really tell how you're going to pitch up but you get a good vibe that we're a good mind and spirit going into tomorrow's game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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