Stewart more than happy to lead double life: Cricket

NZC Selection XI 138 England 154-3
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Alec Stewart, who scored more Test runs than anyone in world cricket during 1996, is enjoying being at the forefront of things as England's wicketkeeper-batsman. "Perhaps I should be getting two salaries now that I am doing two jobs," he said.

"But I am enjoying my keeping as well as the batting and I am feeling settled going in at No 3. The pitches here in New Zealand seem to be a yard quicker than those in Zimbabwe and that suits me, too. But at the moment, I'm just concentrating on carrying things on from the Zimbabwe leg."

Stewart is willing runs to flow for Mike Atherton, too. While Stewart's own winter continues to get better and better, England's out-of-touch captain reacted to yesterday's rain in New Zealand by going fishing to take his mind off things.

Only an hour's play was possible on the second day of England's opening first-class fixture in New Zealand, Stewart racing to 75 not out as England's total went from 106 for 3 to 154 for 3 in reply to the Select XI's 138 all out.

Atherton is keeping his spirits up manfully, and Stewart said: "He's a class player and something will click for him soon. Hopefully, it will be in the second innings here, but if not I'm sure he will come good in our next match at Hamilton."

Besides Atherton, England need runs from both Nasser Hussain, who is currently 11 not out, and Graham Thorpe, the next man in. Hussain, after a century in the first Test against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, ended the first leg of the tour with 24 runs from five innings - and in the first over of the day he edged medium-pacer Justin Vaughan to just short of Craig Spearman at slip before he had scored. Hussain survived thanks in part to Spearman's honesty that he had picked the ball up on the half-volley.

Second day of four; England won toss

NZC Selection XI First Innings - 138 (C White 4-15).

ENGLAND - First Innings

(Overnight: 106 for 3)

A J Stewart not out 75

N Hussain not out 11

Extras (lb4, nb4) 8

Total (for 3, 47.3 overs) 154

To bat: G P Thorpe, J P Crawley, C White, D G Cork, C E W Silverwood, P C R Tufnell.

Bowling: Morrison 14.3-3-33-2; Kennedy 8-2-31-1; Vaughan 10-2-49-0; Wiseman 7-1-22-0; Haslam 8-4-15-0.

Umpires: S Dunne and D Quested.