LONDON - Agence France-Presse
England is set to find out just how good a Test match side it is during the series with South Africa according to captain Michael Vaughan, who announced an unchanged team yesterday.
In the latest edition of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings the Proteas, who have won six out of their last seven series, leapfrogged England into second place.
Vaughan, speaking at Lord's, a day before the first of a four-match series is due to start at the �home of cricket� said South Africa would represent a huge step up in class from New Zealand, which England beat 2-0 last month.
"South Africa is obviously a different proposition in terms of its bowling attack. It is a lot more pacey and comes at you from different angles," Vaughan explained.
Vaughan singled out Dale Steyn, the in-form Proteas quick.
"Dale Steyn is No 2 in the world and will be a big threat. In terms of their batting, that's going to challenge all our bowlers. But we swing the ball and it should swing here over the next few days."
England, late injuries permitting, is now set to field an unchanged side for a world Test record sixth successive occasion.
"Everyone's fit, we'll be playing the same team as Trent Bridge (where England won by an innings and nine runs), " Vaughan confirmed. "Hopefully it will be a similar performance."
Since the Proteas re-admission into world cricket following the apartheid-enforced exile, Test series between England and South Africa have been tough affairs and Vaughan expects this one to be no different.
"They've always been hard fought contests. They are up there with the Ashes and over the next five weeks we will find out whether we have developed into a good Test team," said Vaughan whose side is at home to archrival Australia next year.
However, Vaughan said the worth of England's pace attack should not be under-estimated. "This is a series we can win. We have a set of bowlers who are skilful. Ryan Sidebottom's caused every batsman he's bowled against problems and Jimmy Anderson got better and better against New Zealand while Stuart Broad bowled beyond his years." Vaughan's longstanding right knee problem flared up during a county match for Yorkshire against Durham but the top-order batsman insisted his own fitness wasn't an issue. "It's fine. It was just a little bit of aggravation."