Prized asset: Glenn McGrath went from over the hill to leading man in a week © Getty Images

England have been encouraged to target Glenn McGrath during the Ashes by both the bowler and Ricky Ponting. McGrath showed he was approaching peak form during Australia's semi-final win against New Zealand on Wednesday and quickly began talking about the England series.

"I think [Michael Vaughan] targeted me last time, and I knocked him over four or five times," he said in The Australian. "So I'm happy with that." Ponting agreed with McGrath's feelings when he said: "Let them go for it, that's all I'm going to say."

McGrath was criticised in the lead-up to the semi-final but said it did not affect him and that he still had room for improvement before the opening Test on November 23. "To me, it's all about how I feel I'm going," he told the paper. "And if I'm happy with the way I'm progressing then that's all that matters. I've got a little way to go."

He said he has "put a little piece of the puzzle back together" in each game he has played since returning from a long lay-off to be with his sick wife. "It's feeling pretty good at the moment, and I was happy with [the semi-final]," he said. "There were a few little errors I can still improve, but it's looking pretty good. If I keep doing that, there's a few more games until the Ashes and I shouldn't be too far off 100%."