Vaughan hails "best century"
Michael Vaughan hailed his best Ashes century yet as his return to form propelled England to 341 for five on the opening day of the third npower Test.
Vaughan responded to his poor start to the series, including three single-figure scores, by hitting his fourth hundred in eight appearances against Australia at the highest level.
The 30-year-old’s star has wavered in the past year but he took advantage of being dropped twice and having his off-stump knocked out by a Glenn McGrath no-ball to reproduce the kind of fluency which earnt him the man-of-the-series award in the 2002-03 Ashes.
Fortune favoured the England captain, playing in the city of his birth, from the moment he won the toss; he went on to share three-figure stands with Marcus Trescothick and Ian Bell before holing out off Simon Katich’s occasional wrist spin.
“I would say this is my best against them because it is 1-1 in the series and it really counts,” Vaughan said.
“There has been a lot of talk about this game, so to go out and do it is a good feeling.
“I felt my luck was going to change and the run of low scores would end. You can also make your own luck and I think I have warranted a little bit - I didn’t bowl the no-ball or drop the catches.
“I can only control my own batting, I played on instinct and I am glad it paid off.
“You have to make sure that you are in the game after the first day against Australia and that was a really good first day for us.”
Having been bowled three times in four innings, Vaughan’s technique was under scrutiny and he admitted pre-match that such a trend was not good enough for a number three.
Nevertheless, he added: “People can talk but I have a huge amount of self-belief that I will come through patches and score runs eventually.
“I feel I am a decent player and low scores have to end somewhere. Fortunately they did.”
Vaughan’s effort laid the platform for his side to continue the momentum they picked up with the two-run win at Edgbaston last weekend and also overshadowed leg-spinner Shane Warne becoming the first man to 600 Test wickets.
It was fitting, though, that the 35-year-old reached the milestone on the ground he produced that `miracle ball’ dismissal of Mike Gatting 12 years ago with his opening delivery in an Ashes contest.
It was also an emotional moment, as Marcus Trescothick mistimed a sweep to bob a catch behind, with Warne kissing a white wristband in tribute to his three children, who are back in Australia with his estranged wife Simone.
“The wristband is pretty emotional for me,” revealed Warne.
“When Simone and the three children went home, Brooke my eldest daughter gave me the wristband, which says strength on it.
“She and the other kids wear one and I spoke to all three of them this morning.
“So I told Brooke if it happened today (Thursday) it was for her, Jackson and Summer.
“I am pretty proud of that achievement, it is always nice to be the first to a landmark.
“I have been very lucky to achieve so many things on the cricket field, it has been an amazing ride.
“When I got 300 wickets, Terry Jenner said I could get 600 and I asked him if he had been drinking all day. He probably had been!
“To do it at this ground is obviously pretty special as well with my parents here to top it off.”
Vaughan, who would have become victim number 601 but for a drop at slip by Matthew Hayden, added: “He is a true great but he can stop at 600 now. He’s got enough!
“He is always a real competitor to play against and it is good to test yourself against the best.”
England will now hope to cash in on Australia’s profligacy, which led to four missed chances in all, with Warne wary of their big-game players.
“They have real matchwinners in their side and if you have them you can win from any situation,” Warne said.
“We could have been 2-0 up and things might have been completely different but they fought hard to level things, they have belief that they can win and if we don’t play well they can, simple as that.”