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Page last updated at 20:39 GMT, Sunday, 18 May 2008 21:39 UK

Vaughan revels in return to form

Michael Vaughan
Vaughan's last century for England came against India in July 2007

England captain Michael Vaughan admits victory over New Zealand in the first Test is a "long shot" but says he is happy to have proved the critics wrong.

Without a century in his previous 15 innings, Vaughan hit 106 on day four to give England a glimpse of victory.

"When you're under pressure it's always nice to deliver," he told BBC Sport.

"From the minute I walked out there I felt very relaxed and focused. It's never surprising that, when you're in that kind of zone, you get a hundred."

Vaughan was out of form during the winter series in New Zealand and also made a disappointing start to the County Championship season with Yorkshire.

But the 33-year-old, who cites the knocks of 42 and 34 against Nottinghamshire in April as a key turning point, has now equalled Graham Gooch's record of six Test hundreds at Lord's.

His knock also helped England make 319 in reply to New Zealand's 277, before the Black Caps closed on 40-0 in their second innings.

We've got an opportunity, it's a bit of a long shot, but you never know

Michael Vaughan

"No doubt a lot of people have written and said a lot about me," Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But I felt I came out the county matches in some kind of rhythm - I know I haven't got the big scores but after the 30 and 40 I got against Notts I felt in decent touch.

"When you come to Lord's and you've had so much success here it's always a nice place to be coming back to when you need a score.

"The practice facilities are always excellent, the wicket here suits my style of play, I know the angles of the ground, the slope and everything about it."

Vaughan's last century came against India at Trent Bridge in July 2007.

He also made three figures in England's huge victory over West Indies almost a year ago.

"I just fancied that this week could be a hundred for me," he said.

"You just get these kind of feeling in your career. I had it at Headingley last year and I certainly had it here this week.

"Going through all the practice and going to bed last night I just thought: 'If I play well and I play straight there's a chance that I'll get a hundred'."

Despite Vaughan's knock, England would have hoped to carry a more substantial first-innings lead into day five of a weather-affected match.

The fact that New Zealand ended the day unscathed and just two runs behind means a draw remains the most likely result.

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"We'll have to bowl well and hold our catches but it's the last day of cricket and funny things happen," said Vaughan, who captained England to a 2-1 series win in New Zealand in March.

"We've got an opportunity, it's a bit of a long shot, but you never know."

Daniel Vettori, who took 5-69, including Vaughan's wicket, to bring up 250 in Test cricket, was quick to praise his opposite number.

"I know there has been talk of some pressure on him, but we sit back and always think of him as a very good cricketer," said the New Zealand skipper.

"Everyone can go through a form slump and today he proved what a quality player he is.

"He held the innings together, batted with the top order and then manoeuvred the game around with the tail-end as well.

"That is the sign of a quality batsman, it didn't look like he panicked or worried about the hundred at any stage."

Vettori's men limited England to a 42-run lead with a display of highly disciplined bowling, before closing the gap further with the bat before stumps.

"We played really well, most people predicted England to come out and dominate the day," Vettori added.

"For them to be only 40 in front when both teams batted in contrasting conditions is a good reward for us."


see also
Jonathan Agnew column
18 May 08 |  Sport Homepage
England frustrated at wet Lord's
17 May 08 |  England
First Test day four photos
18 May 08 |  England
England in New Zealand 2008
03 Jul 07 |  Cricket


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