England builds base for first tour victory

BRISBANE, Dec 17 AAP - Veterans Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart pushed England towards the first victory of its dreadful Australian tour when they tucked into Sri Lanka's bowlers in the tri-series one-day clash at the Gabba today.

England's bowlers will determine whether the tourists break the drought after the batsmen posted 292 from 50 overs in warm conditions in Brisbane in their third match of the series, following two losses to Australia.

It was England's third-highest total in a one-day match in Australia and history suggests it will be enough to ensure Hussain's team wins its first match since arriving in October.

The West Indies posted the highest successful run chase at the Gabba in 1996-97, scoring 3-284 against Australia, and Sri Lanka was fortunate not to face a higher chase tonight after England suffered a late collapse.

Andrew Caddick was out from the final ball of the innings as England stumbled through the final overs, losing 5-14 in 25 balls.

But the damage had already been done on Sri Lanka's bowlers after Hussain (79 from 106 balls) and Stewart (64 from 61) combined for a 72-run stand while Hussain and Paul Collingwood (37 from 45) added 77.

Hussain, Stewart and Collingwood were all on the ground when Hussain was dismissed in the 42nd over, run out by a direct hit from Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya.

Collingwood was running for Hussain, who was believed to be suffering from cramp, when Jayasuriya struck.

Their bowlers struck early, removing Marcus Trescothick (27 from 27) in the seventh over, but England's openers had already set the tempo with an enterprising start.

Nick Knight (29 from 29) helped overcome another poor innings from Ronnie Irani (one from three) while Collingwood showed energy in his first match in Australia.