Root shocked by Vaughan criticism
Nottingham, UK - Michael Vaughan's criticism of the England side is "unfair" according to England captain, Joe Root.
Vaughan, Root's boyhood hero, branded England's batting "appalling" on the BBC's Test Match Special and suggested it was born from "a lack of respect" for the values of Test cricket. "They look like they are playing a T20 game," he said.
It was England's seventh loss in its ten most recent Tests. And it left Vaughan both unimpressed and suggesting that England were struggling to adjust having just played several months of white-ball cricket leading into the ICC Champions Trophy.
Root, who has seen Vaughan as a mentor, countered by saying England had simply suffered a bad game and that he "couldn't believe" Vaughan would suggest such a thing.
"That's very unfair," he said. "I can't believe he's actually said that, to be honest. We pride ourselves on winning series like this, and unfortunately we've played poorly this week."
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."
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 first innings.
"After that, we couldn't find a way to get back into the game."
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."
Joe Root (left) and Michael Vaughan