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Vaughan - No Harm done

Hoggard form delights skipper after warm-up draw in Dunedin

Harmison: Early troubles

England captain Michael Vaughan insists he isn't too concerned by Steve Harmison's early form in New Zealand.

After concerns over a stiff back on his arrival Down Under, the Durham paceman struggled in his opening spell against a New Zealand Invitational XI on Monday.

He did manage to take 2-41 in 10 overs in the home side's first innings and picked up another victim before the close after the Invitational XI had been asked to follow-on.

Rather than be concerned by the bowler's performance, Vaughan feels the early signs are promising, particularly as Harmison did improve as the game wore on.

Good start

"I've seen him spray it worse than that so I suppose that's quite a good start - it's not all doom and gloom with him," stated Vaughan.

"During the first few days in Christchurch he was a bit rusty and got better and better and as the game and the day went on he got better and better.

"There are good signs and if he's selected for the three-day game, he's got another opportunity to bowl more and more."

The two-day warm-up match petered out to a tame draw with Vaughan rejecting the chance of extra batting practice on the final afternoon.

He admits his decision was partly down to the desire to get his bowlers more action ahead of the first Test in Hamilton, which can be seen live on Sky Sports.

"He (Harmison) was one of the reasons why we went out and bowled again, to try and give him some more overs," he added.

"He seems to be getting better and stronger and a lot more loose the more that he goes on so that's a good sign for us - no batsman in the world likes bounce and Steve provides that.

"He's worked hard at home. We're all under the microscope back home these days and you have to do all your training and you're monitored on the amount of batting and bowling that you've done.

"He's arrived in not the best of form, but he's working very hard."

Hot Hoggard

While Harmison may have had some early problems the rest of the bowling attack performed impressively, much to the delight of their skipper.

Vaughan was particularly pleased with the form of Matthew Hoggard, who helped to reduce a top order including four internationals to 26-5.

"We bowled excellently in the morning," he enthused. "Hoggy has hit his straps from the moment he arrived in Christchurch last week.

"He looks fit, strong and bowling how we know Matthew Hoggard can bowl so he should be a great plus for us.

"All the bowlers at times bowled very well and it's always nice to knock a few of the batsmen you're going to play against next week in Hamilton out and knock them over cheaply and early."

England's final warm-up fixture ahead of the first Test is a three-day contest against Otago at the same venue starting on Thursday.