London:Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood announced on Sunday they were stepping down as England's Test and One-day captains.
Vaughan's decision comes after on Saturday's five-wicket defeat against South Africa in the third Test at Edgbaston which gave the Proteas an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series and their first series win in England since 1965.
It meant the 33-year-old batsman had overseen three series losses against top-class opposition since returning from a career-threatening knee injury.
His announcement was followed by that of 32-year-old Durham all-rounder Collingwood, who said in a statement that his game had suffered as a result of taking on the ODI captaincy.
"I've made the decision to stand down as England captain," a tearful Vaughan told a press conference.
"It's the hardest decision I've ever had to make but also the easiest.
"The hardest because I'm giving away the job I've loved for the last five years, one I've put my heart and soul into, but also the easiest because my mind has told me to pack it in.
"I felt if I kept going my career could come to an abrupt end - hopefully, this can prolong my career.
"I will carry on playing because I think there are a lot more runs in me.
"This decision will prolong my career. I'm moving better than ever in the field so hopefully this decision will make my last few years a very exciting time."
Vaughan said he does not want to be considered for the final Test of the series and would take a break to consider his future before coming back and finishing the season for county cricket side Yorkshire.
"I will take a break from the game so I won't be playing at The Oval," he said.
"I just want to try and freshen up the mind and get back to playing as a batsman. I do believe these could be the best years of my playing career.
"That's the one thing I want to get back doing."
And Vaughan revealed he had first considered resigning at the start of the year during the tour of New Zealand, when England came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1.
"In New Zealand I had a few thoughts that I might go," said Vaughan.
"It is a fairytale to captain your country but it hasn't had a fairytale ending. I know that it is the right time because my mind told me it was. My body is working well but my mind is not.
"I wish whoever gets the job all the luck in the world, it's a great privilege."
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Hugh Morris hailed Vaughan's influence since he took charge of the team in 2003.
"Michael led from the front and led with honesty and integrity every step of the way," Morris said.
"He took the England captaincy to new heights. Michael was the best possible ambassador for the game and his record as captain speaks volumes for the character he instilled in the dressing room."
Regarding Collingwood, Morris added, "Paul feels this is the best decision in terms of benefiting the England team and his contribution to the team.