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Tresco form is vital for England

Investec Test Series
Marcus Trescothick

Marcus Trescothick has refused to listen to the Australian barracking © Getty Images

Ignorance has proven bliss for Marcus Trescothick in breaking Australia's dominance over him in Test cricket.

England vice-captain Trescothick heads into the heat of the Ashes decider at The Oval this week as the top run scorer in the series, having amassed 355 in four matches to date.

Such a return provided a perfect riposte to continued barracking from the Australian camp about his susceptibility outside off-stump.

Shane Warne questioned the Somerset left-hander's worth prior to the series while coach John Buchanan has continually claimed England's openers have serious flaws, most recently in the build-up to the fourth Test.

Marcus Trescothick

Trescothick is England's top run scorer in the Ashes series to date © Getty Images

Australia have dominated in the verbal sparring as much as they have on the field in the past decade but this time their barbs have fallen on deaf ears.

"I didn't read any of it or hear of it," said Trescothick, 29.

"If you don't listen, it doesn't have any effect. It can't get to you.

"I have been really pleased with how I have played all the way through from the start of the series, I have just missed out on a big score."

Trescothick entered this enthralling campaign, which England lead 2-1, having scored only four half-centuries in 10 previous Ashes Tests, a statistic indicative of the balance of power in recent Anglo-Aussie tussles.

But the collective ability of Michael Vaughan's men has allowed a change of mood in facing up to the challenge this summer.

"Everyone judges you on how you play against the best team in the world and up until this series I haven't played that well against them," admitted Trescothick.

Jason Gillespie

Trescothick has dominated the Aussie pace bowlers like Jason Gillespie © Getty Images

"In past series it was not easy being under pressure every time you went out to bat.

"You are not able to play your natural game whereas this time I have been.

"I have been able to go out and enjoy the game, play positively and not feel pressure on me.

"The way the team has played has taken a lot of the pressure off.

"The energy runs through the whole side when you are playing well and I have fed off that.

"Because the team is better - I realise I was part of what made that happen - it has given me confidence to go out and play the way I have."

A previous tendency to be undone by the probing of Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie by flirting with deliveries of decent line and length was magnified in a losing cause.

But Trescothick has made the most of a double loss, that of McGrath for two Tests through injury and form in Gillespie's case, to prosper.

Michael Vaughan

Trescothick and Michael Vaughan have used their experience to outsmart the Aussies © Getty Images

"I have just tried to leave the ball when it’s wide and hit it if it's in the right area," he said.

"They have bowled really well at me at times and on occasions I have found it hard work; there have been others when I have tried to dominate and scored runs.

"That is the way it has been all my career - someone like Shaun Pollock or Glenn McGrath will bowl well for a while but if you can get away there is a chance of a good score."

Trescothick has done just that on numerous occasions at The Oval, arguably his most prosperous ground.

He averages 85.85 in five Test appearances on the ground and has struck three hundreds and two half-centuries in nine one-day internationals.

From his point of view, things could not be set up any better as England attempt to dethrone Ricky Ponting's men by avoiding defeat.

Andrew Flintoff

All-rounder Andrew Flintoff has been a star performer throughout for England

"I do enjoy batting there and that is another confidence thing because you know you are going to be confronted with a good wicket," he said.

"This is the kind of situation you dream of but there is still a big job to be done.

"If we don't do it the whole summer is irrelevant because they take the Ashes back.

"We have been building up gradually over 18 months, with more good performances in each series and this is the peak of it.

"It doesn't get any easier, every game this series has been like a final so far and felt like the biggest game of my career. Because each one has been."

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