Nottingham - Joe Root was stunned by former England captain
Michael Vaughan's assertion that his side had failed to respect Test cricket
during their thumping 340-run defeat by South Africa at Trent Bridge.
Ashes-winning skipper Vaughan, now a commentator with BBC
Radio's Test Match Special, made his stinging comments as England lost seven
first-innings wickets for 62 runs to be bowled out in little more than 50 overs
for 205 in reply to the Proteas' 335.
Root's 78 was the only fifty in a meagre total that left
England well behind in the game.
"The England batting has been appalling," said
Vaughan, who played alongside Root's father Matt at the Sheffield Collegiate
Club in Yorkshire and has been a friend of the family since Joe was a boy.
"Maybe it's a lack of respect about what the game
is," said Vaughan, one of the leading Test batsmen of his era.
"They look like they are playing a Twenty20 game. They
have this approach of attack, attack, attack. There is no thought or feeling of
seeing off a bowler or wearing a team down."
England's second innings was even worse, with Root's men
bowled out for just 133 in pursuit of a world-record target of 474 with more
than a day to spare on Monday as South Africa levelled the four-match series at
This was England's sixth defeat in their last eight Tests
and Root, in charge for just the most recent two, was taken aback by mentor
"I think that's very unfair - I can't believe he's
actually said that.
"We pride ourselves on winning series like this, and
unfortunately we've played poorly this week," Root added.
But the Yorkshireman accepted his side ought to be able to
bat in different styles according to the match situation, whatever the
individual preferences of particular players.
"We need to make sure we learn quickly ... (so that) if
we are in a similar situation (in the third Test) at The Oval, for example, we
play it slightly smarter," said Root.
"Part of Test cricket is trying to find a balance of
both (attack and defence) - and even if it's not your strength, you build it
into your natural game," he added.
"You have periods where you can absorb a bit of
pressure and find the right moment to apply it when chances come along.
"We are capable of doing it and have done it
previously, but this wasn't a very good example of it."
Meanwhile the 26-year-old Root, who led England to a 211-run
series opening win at Lord's in his first Test as skipper, said this huge loss
had been a chastening experience.
"I definitely feel older - it's been a tough
week," he conceded.
"South Africa responded very well from Lord's - and
especially with the bat, we didn't assess the situation well enough in the
"After that, we couldn't find a way to get back into
The star batsman added: "We're a side that doesn't like
giving anything away, and unfortunately today that wasn't a fair representation
of how good we are as a team."
By contrast, just about everything went right for Root's
opposing captain Faf du Plessis, who did not play at Lord's following the birth
of his first child.
"Pretty much from the toss through to the last ball we
bowled, we were in control of the Test match," said du Plessis.
England number three batsman Gary Ballance, out for just
four on Monday, was due to have an X-ray on his left index finger after being
struck by a Morne Morkel short ball.