Ashes 2017: Mark Stoneman hoping positive start stands him in good stead

Stoneman has only played three Tests before this tour but the opener is in a good frame of mind after starting with an assured innings at the WACA

Chris Stocks
Perth
@StocksC_cricket
Saturday 04 November 2017 12:53
comments
Mark Stoneman hit a confidence-boosting 85 as England started well at the WACA
Mark Stoneman hit a confidence-boosting 85 as England started well at the WACA

Mark Stoneman is hoping his positive start to this tour of Australia will stand him in good stead for the challenges to come in the Ashes.

England faced a powder-puff attack on day one of their first tour match against a Western Australia XI, with only Australian Test contender Nathan Coulter-Nile offering any real threat.

Coulter-Nile did dismiss former captain Alastair Cook with the second ball of the match, but that only saw James Vince join Stoneman at the crease and the pair put on a stand of 153 that laid the foundation for the tourists’ total of 349 for six by the close.

Stoneman, who hit 85, has only played three Tests before this tour, all coming at home against West Indies at the end of the summer. But the opener is in a positive frame of mind after starting with an assured innings at the WACA.

“You can get as many balls as you want in the nets but the intensity is not quite there,” he said. “There will be tougher tests ahead on this tour but it was nice to score some runs. From a confidence point of view, having a score to your name lets you settle into the tour.

“Momentum is massive in any sport and as an individual if you get off on the right note on tour you can hopefully snowball that and keep things progressing. It stops any technical or mental doubts creeping in and lets you get on with your work until that first Test.”

Vince was a surprise call-up for this trip given he has not played since being dropped at the end of the 2016 home summer, when he averaged just 19 in seven Tests.

The Hampshire batsman was dropped four times on his way to 84, but Stoneman, who is sharing an apartment with the man tasked with filling the problematic No3 position, said: “It’s nice, we’re roomies as well this week in Perth and that was good for us. “Partnerships are key for us on this tour so it was important for us today. We’re happy with how it’s gone.

Root fell early but England enjoyed a strong opening day 

“I enjoy batting with him, he’s quite relaxed and always quite easy on the eye when he’s in full flow and he’s got a great range of shots so he’s good to watch. I hope we can complement each other well. We’ve started off on the right foot and if we find ourselves playing in the Tests together hopefully we can put on some good partnerships.

“When two guys are batting nicely together there is a flow and a vibe to it but throughout the line-up we’ve got guys who enjoy batting together.”

As well as Cook’s two-ball duck, England captain Joe Root also fell cheaply, making nine before edging behind.

Stoneman added: “I don’t think it’s a good thing they missed out. But in terms of the people that did miss out it’s a bit of a lesser blow it’s two guys who have phenomenal records in Test cricket and know their games inside out.”

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