Vaughan hopeful on Hoggard

Skipper makes encouraging noises about seamer's fitness

Last Updated: 13/12/07 3:12pm

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Vaughan: Lots to fight for

Vaughan: Lots to fight for

Sky Bet

Michael Vaughan admitted the placid Colombo pitch all but ended England's hopes of squaring the series with Sri Lanka, but delivered an upbeat bulletin on the fitness of Matthew Hoggard.

England comfortably staved off the prospect of defeat on day five as they reached 250-3 before rain brought a premature close to proceedings.

Vaughan was pleased enough with his side's display which keeps them in with a shout of levelling the series ahead of the third and final Test in Galle, but admitted he and the rest of the batsmen were frustrated that an Englishman hadn't registered a century in the two games to date.

"We got through with some really good batting," he told Sky Sports. "The pitch was very conducive for batting for the whole five days.

"Full credit to both sets of bowlers for toiling away on that surface, for the seamers to keep running and bowl 40 overs apiece on our side was a great effort.

A lot to play for

"We're obviously 1-0 down still, but we still feel we have a lot to fight for and a lot to play for to make sure we win that one and make sure we go home with a series draw."

On their inability to score a hundred thus far, he continued: "That's obviously something we'd like to improve on.

"But a last day wicket playing Murali as we did, it's probably one of the most comfortable draws I've been involved with for an England team, we usually have a panic, we haven't done today.

"Like I say, it was a very good pitch for batting on throughout the days, we are looking to get big hundreds, we haven't done, but we'll look to put that right in Galle."

Vaughan also conceded that the failure to bowl their opponents out was something of a worry, but pointed to the featherbed of a pitch in Colombo - on which only 22 wickets fell in five days - as a mitigating circumstance.

"It's a concern, but you have to look at the pitches you're playing on. As they showed today, the fifth day wicket was very difficult for them so it was very much a week for the batsman and let's hope we go to Galle and there's a little bit more balance for both sides."


The match in Galle could also see Hoggard return to England's ranks with Vaughan insisting that the Yorkshire seamer is making encouraging progress from his back complaint.

"Speaking to the medical team they say he's (Hoggard) coming along nicely, so let's just monitor him for the next couple of days and see if he is available for selection come Sunday or Monday," he added.

"We're all looking forward to going to Galle. We know what's happened in Sri Lanka over the last few years, so it'll be a real historic occasion for both sides and we're looking forward to getting down there and hopefully we can go that one step further and win."

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