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sport news England train in Australia for first time on Ashes tour

It could not have done much for English spirits already damaged by the absence of Ben Stokes to find Mitchell Johnson prowling around the WACA outfield when they turned up here on Tuesday for their first practice of this Ashes tour.

But if Halloween was an appropriate time for the ghost of their Ashes horrors past to take part in some promotional work at his local ground then England did their utmost to convince the sceptical Australians they were not spooked.

Perhaps it was revealing that Johnson, thankfully now retired from international cricket, was friendliness personified as he greeted old acquaintances because England have arrived here somewhat under the radar.

England trained at the WACA in Perth on Tuesday on the first stop of their Ashes tour

England trained at the WACA in Perth on Tuesday on the first stop of their Ashes tour

It was a light training session for Joe Root's team as they shook off the jet lag 

It was a light training session for Joe Root's team as they shook off the jet lag 

Bowler Stuart Broad (right) is helped by coach Paul Collingwood as he warms up

Bowler Stuart Broad (right) is helped by coach Paul Collingwood as he warms up

Gary Ballance and Mark Stoneman play football during England's first training session in Perth

Gary Ballance and Mark Stoneman play football during England's first training session in Perth

England captain Joe Root prepares to take a catch during training in Perth on Tuesday

England captain Joe Root prepares to take a catch during training in Perth on Tuesday

The 'phoney' battle has been restricted so far to David Warner calling the Ashes 'war' and his wife Candice labelling Stokes 'disgusting' while local media have written off the less recognisable figures in England's squad.

It was left to one of those in James Vince to insist England could thrive without Stokes, still waiting to hear whether he will be charged by police for the Bristol rumpus, and with a still vulnerable looking batting line-up.

Vince was a surprising choice for this trip after being sent back to Hampshire last year with an average of 19 from his first seven Tests but is the hot favourite to walk out at No 3 in the first Test at the Gabba cauldron.

Now one of the most attractive strokemakers in domestic cricket must justify Trevor Bayliss's hunch that his game is suited to Australian conditions and that he has overcome his fatal habit of nicking off far too readily to the slips. 

England captain Joe Root practises his catching during the team's first training session

England captain Joe Root practises his catching during the team's first training session

Stuart Broad, wearing shades in the sunny weather of Perth, was in a happy mood

Stuart Broad, wearing shades in the sunny weather of Perth, was in a happy mood

Ben Foakes (centre) stretches alongside his England team-mates ahead of their first match

Ben Foakes (centre) stretches alongside his England team-mates ahead of their first match

England head coach Trevor Bayliss throws balls to plays as they practise their fielding

England head coach Trevor Bayliss throws balls to plays as they practise their fielding

Ashes Tour 2017-18 

NOVEMBER

4-5 Western Australia XI (Perth)

8-11 Cricket Australia XI (Adelaide, d/n)

15-18 Cricket Australia XI (Townsville)

23-27 First Test (Brisbane)

DECEMBER

2-6 Second Test (Adelaide, d/n)

9-10 Cricket Australia XI (Perth)

14-18 Third Test (Perth)

26-30 Fourth Test (Melbourne)

JANUARY

4-8 Fifth Test (Sydney) 

'I think everyone gets caught in the slips in Test cricket at times but I want to be a bit more selective in the balls I'm trying to attack,' said Vince, getting on to his customary front foot on day one.

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