Vaughan backs top order
Michael Vaughan is confident England's batsmen will produce an improved display in the second Test.
Last Updated: 12/03/08 11:14am
Michael Vaughan is confident England's top order batting will give an improved display in the second Test against New Zealand, which starts at the Basin Reserve on Thursday.
England produced an anaemic performance to lose the first Test by 189 runs and require an immediate response in Wellington to get back in the three-match series.
The performance of the top six during the first Test was a major cause for concern, particularly a pitiful effort on the final day that saw the tourists bowled out for 110 in pursuit of 300 for victory.
England's first innings was not much better as they crawled to 348 all out in 173.1 overs. Nobody was able to make the substantial contribution the situation demanded, with Paul Collingwood's 66 the highest score.
"A lot of our players do like to dominate and for some reason at the moment we're not being allowed to dominate," said Vaughan.
"Whether it's just good bowling or a little bit of a mindset only the individuals will know.
"It's a difficult one because you don't want to come out with a reckless mindset and start swinging from ball one, but you have to make sure you have an intent to score and get on top of the opposition."
Vaughan is aware of the lack of centuries from England's batsmen in recent times, just four in the last seven Tests.
"Sometimes when you try so hard and you're thinking about getting that hundred so much it can go further and further away from you," he added.
"There have been many players who have played the game and looked unbelievable players that have tried so hard they've not succeeded.
"You've just got to allow your talent to take over and you've got to trust yourself.
"You have to trust your ability, you have to trust that if someone bowls you a half-volley your body will react and you'll hit it and if someone bowls you a good ball, your body will react and you'll leave it.
"That's how good players go on and get big scores is by trusting their techniques and trusting their decision-making and that's exactly what we have to do this week."
New Zealand picked two spinners - Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel - for the first Test.
John Bracewell, the Black Caps' coach, has suggested England are weak against slow bowling, a claim denied by Vaughan.
"I think we've played spin very well at times over the last few years," he said. "It certainly improved a hell of a lot under Duncan Fletcher's regime.
"There are options for us to score but we just didn't produce those options in Hamilton and that's maybe through a lack of confidence.
"It's quite easy as a bowler if someone is just blocking you so I think it's important that we do have a bit more intent when we're playing the spinners and if an opportunity arises where we can get on top of the spinners, make sure that we take it."
England's top six is likely to be unchanged in Wellington with the only selection decision concerning the fourth member of the bowling attack alongside Ryan Sidebottom, Matthew Hoggard and Monty Panesar.
Steve Harmison struggled in the first Test and could be replaced by either Stuart Broad or James Anderson.
Vaughan admitted: "Steve is frustrating because we all see how much talent he has.
"I love captaining Steve Harmison because I know what he brings to the team, but I was disappointed as anyone to see how he bowled and he is as well.
"I know how hard he's working, how much effort he's putting in and I know how good he's been in the dressing room over the last year. It's obviously disappointing when you see him putting in the effort and it's not coming out how he would like it out in the middle.
"It's certainly not through a lack of effort, it's just not happening for him at the moment. It's not coming out with the pace that he'd like or the accuracy so he's not quite up to scratch as we speak at the moment."