Former Sydneysider Stoneman relishing SCG return

Mark Stoneman said playing grade cricket in Sydney had an influential role in his career as the England opener prepares for the fifth and final Ashes Test at the SCG.

Stoneman was born in Newcastle, England but the batsman is no stranger to Australia, having spent six seasons playing grade cricket in Sydney.

The 30-year-old's wife, Serene, is also Australian after the pair met during his three seasons for St George.

Reflecting on his time in Sydney ahead of day one at the SCG on Thursday, Stoneman told reporters: "It's massive on a personal front and cricketing.

"The two go hand-in-hand and as you mature, you learn a bit more about yourself and it helps takes your game in various directions as well.

"Sydney's been a massive part of that, I met my wife out here and she's been a fantastic supporter. Especially the last couple of years when things got a little but tough in terms of making the move down to Surrey."

"When I first came over in 2006-07, I was here for the Sydney Test and that was incredible," Stoneman said.

"The Barmy Army were in full voice and Brett Lee was steaming in to bowl.

"It was just one of those things. 'How good would it be to be out there?' England weren't too good at the time."

It has been an up-and-down Ashes series for Stoneman, who has posted two half-centuries to go with scores of 15, 3, 18, 36 and 27.

"Every time you walk out to bat there's an amount of pressure there," said Stoneman, whose England have already surrendered the urn and trail 3-0 following the drawn Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

"I haven't tried to look too far ahead at any point... and not get wrapped up in the what-ifs and what-might-be's of any schedule."

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