Spartan champion Michael Clarke is confident that the Australian squad is on the right track leading into next week’s first Ashes test in Cardiff.

The Australian captain continues to focus on the team’s preparation, with its second tour match starting today against Essex.

This follows a convincing victory over Kent in its opening tour match.

Michael Clarke celebrates his half century. Cricket – Ashes Tour 2015 Kent v Australia. Credit: Photo by James Marsh/BPI/REX Shutterstock

Clarke to Sky Sports on Monday “There was a lot of positives that came out of the (Kent) game. First thing, we won, and that was really important for us as a team, to get out and get a first win in the UK. Individually guys got what they needed as well. It is a good start and now we have the opportunity to play against Essex, hopefully with the same result.”

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The 2015 Ashes tour schedule:

Thu 25 – Sun 28 June        4-day v Kent                                            Canterbury

Wed 1 – Sat 4 July             4-day v Essex                                          Chelmsford

Wed 8 – Sun 12 July         1st Investec Test Match                         SWALEC, Cardiff

Thu 16 – Mon 20 July        2nd Investec Test Match                        Lord’s

Thu 23 – Sat 25 July           3-day v Derbyshire                                  3aaa County Ground, Derby

Wed 29 July – Sun 2 Aug 3rd Investec Test Match                         Edgbaston

Thu 6 – Mon 10 Aug          4th Investec Test Match                         Trent Bridge

Fri 14 – Sun 16 Aug            3-day v Northants                                   Northampton

Thu 20 – Mon 24 Aug        5th Investec Test Match                         Kia Oval

Thu 27 Aug                          ODI v Ireland                                         Venue tbc

Mon 31 Aug                        NatWest IT20                                         SWALEC, Cardiff

Thu 3 Sept                          1st Royal London ODI (D/N)                 Ageas Bowl

Sat 5 Sept                           2nd Royal London ODI                           Lord’s

Tue 8 Sept                          3rd Royal London ODI (D/N)                  Emirates Old Trafford

Fri 11 Sept                          4th Royal London ODI                            Headingley

Sun 13 Sept                        5th Royal London ODI                           Emirates Old Trafford