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Michael Vaughan: England must set target to win all 2016 Test matches

England have a great opportunity to have a brilliant 2016. They play 10 Tests in conditions that perfectly suit their game before going to the sub-continent in the next northern winter.

We have already seen in Durban that England are at home in South African conditions. They then play seven Tests in England against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

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England will always struggle in the subcontinent because they do not have a mystery spinner, but in South African and English conditions they are so strong.

So, they have a great chance to have a hugely successful 2016 and their goal should be to win the next 10 Tests. It rarely happens and they probably will not do it, but it should be their target.

Imagine how confident they would feel if they went to the sub-continent having won 10 Tests out of 10. Aim high.

They looked very united in Durban. They picked players with plenty to prove, so that was good motivation for all involved.


Sometimes you worry it means too much for them but they all approached the match in the right way, particularly Nick Compton.

He was the rock of the innings. If he can continue with that mindset then he could still have a decent Test career. His challenge will come when he has a couple of low scores.

He is so intense and desperate to establish himself in the side and that amount of pressure on yourself can be tiring. But he knows that and he seems to find a way to score runs.

He is not worried about any of the South African bowlers, he played them pretty well in Durban, so he has just got to repeat that mentality in the second Test in Cape Town, which starts this morning.

If we have two rocks in the top three in Compton and Alastair Cook, it allows the stroke players to go out and play their natural games.

We have to be careful. England are on the verge of being a very good team. But we have seen in the past how one week they look like challenging the best in the world, only to be hammered the next.

Consistency has been a real issue, but when you play a South African side who do not offer any mystery, then inconsistency should not come into it.

The up-and-down performances have generally happened when England have faced bowlers with real pace, such as Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson, mystery spin from someone such as Yasir Shah, or unorthodox conditions.

But in South Africa, where the conditions are consistent, and England are facing the same type of bowlers they are used to at home, inconsistency should not be an issue.

They might lose a game but it should not be by a huge margin. England look like the better side. They have all the areas covered and this is a really good opportunity for a young, developing side to taste success overseas.

The best thing about Durban was that, in the absence of James Anderson, we saw a set of players who could play together for a very long time. There is nobody nearing the end.

There are a few at the start, a couple in the middle and some in the final years of their careers, but not close to retirement. It was a vision of an England team I can see being around for a while.

Moeen Ali is so dangerous when his team are ahead in the game and there is something in the pitch. Every time the team have made a decent score he does a job. But he struggles when the team do not bat well enough and he has to drag the side back into the game. He is not that type of off-spinner just yet.

Cook managed his bowlers well in Durban, he has good options and South Africa look like a side that, if England can win day one in Cape Town, then it will be 2-0 in the series.

South Africa have to win the first day. They are struggling for leadership and direction. When I played against South Africa, you always knew they had inner strength, but there does not appear to be any backbone to the side.

They have a great player in AB de Villiers but without Dale Steyn they are probably the weakest South Africa team to play England that I have seen.

There are no excuses for England against this South Africa side. There is nothing in the opposition that you cannot prepare for, Steyn is out injured and South Africa are there for the taking. Cook will realise they have to win this series after the start they have had and the state of the opposition.

Match winner: England will be hoping Stuart Broad can deliver once again.

Match winner: England will be hoping Stuart Broad can deliver once again. Photo: Getty Images

He will be quietly confident his bowlers will not have bad days. Stuart Broad, Anderson and Steven Finn have bowled a lot of overs in Test cricket. They are not going to have too many bad sessions and the way South Africa are batting, without confidence, points to one winner at the moment.

It changes only if De Villiers whacks a massive hundred. He could do it, but there is a lot of pressure on him because I cannot see anyone else doing it. When you are in a situation where one individual has to have a wonder series for his team to win, it rarely happens.

For years, the West Indies had Brian Lara and you always thought if he did something amazing they would win. But they did not win many games because he had nothing around him.

For South Africa to beat England, the players we do not know much about have to do what Compton, James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow did in Durban. Play well and support the senior players.

Most of England's inexperienced players proved they belong at this level. That is what South Africa's new players have to do, so by the end of the series we know their names for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.

That comes down to Hashim Amla and the coach, Russell Domingo, installing inner confidence. It is hard, but as a leadership team that is how you are judged.

Can you make players play to a better level and believe in themselves? From what I have seen from South Africa in India and Durban, there is a lack of direction and confidence coming from the leadership group.

Telegraph, London