The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Vaughan set for McGrath & Co.
- ashes series l ‘I have no mental scars against Australia’

Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie have enjoyed dismissing him first ball but Michael Vaughan is confident he will begin the Ashes series free of any mental scars inflicted by the Australian bowlers.

McGrath has already announced that he remembers removing Vaughan first ball in a match between Worcestershire and Yorkshire in 2000, and with Gillespie having done the same in a one-day international at Old Trafford last year, Vaughan knows he has a point to prove over the coming months.

Last year New Zealand adopted a policy of leaving McGrath outside off-stump as much as possible and drew the three-match series 0-0, but Vaughan, who missed the last Ashes series through injury, will stick to the positive strokeplay that brought him four Test centuries last summer.

“I’ve only played one game against Australia so far and I only lasted one ball, so things can only get better,” Vaughan said.

“I haven’t got a lot of experience against Australia so that’s probably a little bit of a negative, but on the positive side I have no mental scars.

“We have come to a country where the wickets tend to be pretty good and although we’re up against a really good attack, it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to.

The positive approach is probably the best approach. Marcus and I go out looking to be positive, run the singles hard and, if the ball is there to be hit, you have to make sure you hit it.

“McGrath is going to have periods when he’s bowling very well and leaving the ball may be the best option, but we’ll have to judge on the day what we think is the best way to go.”

Vaughan’s summer ended with knee surgery which forced him to miss the ICC Champions Trophy in Colombo last month, but it enabled him to take a four-week break and he arrived in Australia feeling refreshed ahead of an arduous World Cup winter.

The knee is still sore and the England management decided not to risk aggravating the joint in Tuesday’s match against an ACB XI, but Vaughan is confident of regaining full fitness this week.

“When we arrived it was the first time I’d run since the operation and it was very sore but over the last 48 hours it’s improved tremendously,” he said. “Missing the Sri Lanka trip was probably a bonus for me.

I’ve had four or five weeks’ of total rest from cricket, my mind feels totally fresh and I’m very keen to get out there and practice.”

Darren Gough and Simon Jones, two other members of the England party recovering from long-term injuries, took full part in England’s net session at the WACA Monday.

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