Stoneman expects GABBA step up

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England opener Mark Stoneman expects a big jump in intensity when England face off with Australia in the first Ashes Test.

Stoneman opined that they were disappointed with the quality of the opposition in the warm-up games.

He would share a 172 run opening stand with Alastair Cook against the CA XI in Townsville on his way to his first hundred for England.

The opener said in Townsville: “It’s been well documented and everyone is critical of the opposition we’ve faced in the warm-up games.

“We’re going to be tested a hell of a lot more next week, that’s for sure. There’s no doubts about that and everyone’s aware of it.

“Obviously there’s going to be more pace and bounce from the attack and the pitch in Brisbane. But we’re playing here against a different team so all you can do is go through the processes that stand you in good stead.

“It’s going to have to be enough. We can’t change the preparation we’ve been given. That’s where self-awareness and knowing where you are within your own game is key. We’re being tested as much as we can by Ramps [Ramprakash] and his yellow balls, so from the opportunities we’ve had, we’re happy with where we are.

“It’s up to the individual to take that practice a bit further knowing that what we face in these games isn’t going to be the level we get next week.

“Ramps is fast with the sidearm. He throws from a lot closer [than a bowler would deliver] because we all know we’re going to be facing a lot of pace.

“We’ve put in the work we can against the opposition and worked hard in the nets. We’ll be ready for the Gabba.”

England reached 337/3 by the close of play on day two of their final warm-up ahead of the first Test which gets underway on November 23 in Brisbane.

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