January 3, 2003

Stewart presses on for England

SYDNEY, Jan 3 AAP - A bout of chicken pox failed to prevent veteran Alec Stewart from pressing on with England's strong start in the fifth Ashes Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground today.

At lunch on the second day, the tourists were 7-341 on the back of Stewart's impressive 71 from 86 deliveries after he was diagnosed with the illness yesterday.

He took to the depleted Australian attack, hitting 11 fours today, giving him a total of 15 for the innings after he resumed on a score of 20.

In contrast, John Crawley made slow progress, taking 40 minutes to move off his overnight score of six.

He was 22 not out at lunch with Andy Caddick unbeaten on four.

Andy Bichel made the break through for Australia when he bowled Stewart shortly before lunch.

Ahead of the break, Bichel also squeezed in the wicket of Richard Dawson, caught behind by Adam Gilchrist for just two.

Stewart's knock drove him past Geoff Boycott as England's third highest Test run scorer with 8,149 runs behind Graham Gooch (8,900) and David Gower (8,231).