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November 2, 2005
"In these kind of games we obviously want to win, but it's more important that people get the practice required," said Vaughan, after his bowlers had salvaged a 52-run victory on the final afternoon of the match. "The batsmen haven't got as many runs as we'd have liked, but we tried to get as many bowlers a workout as possible."
Vaughan voiced his criticism of the wicket that had been prepared for the match. "It's not an ideal subcontinent wicket, it's more like a Headingley pitch," he said. "If we get that at Multan in two weeks' time, we'll be very happy because our seamers will take their's on. But I very much doubt that this wicket here will have any say.
"I'm happy that the bowlers have overs in their legs, but I'd have liked to see them on ones with a flatter base, and not so much swing after 30 overs. Let's see what we get at Lahore, but Multan is sure to be different to this."
England travel to Lahore tomorrow for their final warm-up match before the Test series gets underway, and the squad is set to be boosted by the arrival of Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison, who were given the first week off after taking part in the ICC Super Series in Australia. Both are certain to play in a line-up that Vaughan suggested would be pretty close to the first-choice Test team.
"Lahore's a pretty big game," he added. "Of course, it's always nice to have the full squad together and these two are experienced members of the team. Freddie and Harmy played in Sydney, but these conditions will be totally different."
Vaughan brushed aside any suggestions that the team would be undercooked going into the first Test. "It's the question we get asked before every season, and at the start of every tour," he said. "Of course, the batsmen want time in the middle, but this is a practice match, and mentally, the Test-match environment is very different. Over the last few seasons we have been so-called `undercooked', but I think we've done pretty well."
One plus point for Vaughan and his squad was the performances of the fringe members, not least Liam Plunkett, whose four-wicket haul pulled the match out of the fire today. "He's got a lot of potential and used the conditions very well," said Vaughan, "but to talk of him making debut a week on Saturday is a little too soon."
Though he refused to speculate on Ian Bell's seemingly tenuous hold on his Test place, Vaughan also enthused about Matt Prior's performance, after a first-innings fifty and a tidy job behind the stumps. "He did well, and showed the right attitude to play at the top level," said Vaughan. "He's sure to put Geraint [Jones] under pressure, but that's what you want - competition and good back-up. We should all be under pressure for our positions."
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