Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stoneman Hoping for a Boxing Day Boost for England

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stoneman Hoping for a Boxing Day Boost for England

Article excerpt

MARK Stoneman is determined to help England prove they are more than Ashes also-rans in this winter's two remaining Tests.

Joe Root's men have lost the urn at the first opportunity, 3-0 down before Christmas, but Tynesider Stoneman is confident they are capable of hitting back in Melbourne and Sydney. "It's pretty devastating really," the straight-talking opener said, as he reflected on the innings defeat in Perth which meant Australia have regained the Ashes already.

"We came from the first two games, with the knowledge of where we wanted to put things right and how we were going to do things better ... so it's pretty hard to take.

"The Ashes are gone but we hope the Boxing Day occasion will get us back up for it."

The Melbourne Test is high on any wish-list for an English or Australian cricketer, and Newcastle-born Stoneman is no different. "I can't wait," said the 30-year-old former Durham batsman.

"There are experiences in world cricket that everybody would love to be a part of, and the Boxing Day Test is certainly one of those.

"It's obviously not ideal going there 3-0 down, but at the same time what better way to bounce back than to perform well in the Boxing Day Test?" Stoneman has won new admirers with his gritty batting in this series - 193 runs at 32.16 - but he regrets his highest score is 56.

"Personally, it's pretty disappointing - because I've made starts in a lot of innings," he added.

"The example the Australians have shown with the bat is we need big scores - three-figure scores.

"We made 50s in the first couple of Tests, and they managed to make hundreds - which proved the difference.

"Then (in Perth) we had a couple of guys score hundreds, and they (Steve Smith) have made doubles.

"From that point of view, personally it is pretty frustrating that I haven't gone on to make the bigger contributions that would set us up a platform of making 500 or 600 - which really gives you a foothold in the game."

Stoneman has great respect for the home attack, having been given a torrid time at the WACA by Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc especially. Asked if Australia's three pace bowlers and off-spinner Nathan Lyon are as tough a combination as he has faced, he said: "Yes . …

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