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Cricket: Hills not big enough for Stewart.

ALEC STEWART, England's Captain Sensible when the nation is crying out for a Captain Marvel, can break free from the shackles in Adelaide this week and finally lead from the front, writes Steve Davies.

After a dismal start personally to a disappointing tour collectively, Stewie is at last full of beans after whacking his first ton of the winter against Victoria and is confidently expecting to carry that form into the third Test.

The England skipper has a measly 49 runs against his name from four Test innings so far and his captaincy and keeping have suffered as a result, but this is the sort of fast, bouncy track that the Surrey star relishes.

City and Hills both have Stewart performance indices, and it is the latter's, pitched at 115-125, which looks the better buy.

The key components are ten points per catch and one for every run. Based on his average from the first two Tests, his catches here would make up at 35 and that leaves 90 more to find from runs, and over two innings at this bat-friendly paradise that should not present a problem.

If he gets a half-century or ton there are 10 and 25 point bonuses up for grabs.

City's index - Gaffa At The SACA - offers the same terms as Hills for runs, catches and century bonus. They also offer 10 points for winning the toss which you can take or leave, and 25 points for winning the Test. The opening quote was 120-130.

I can't get my head around the idea of England yet being tough enough to win here so the ten points on offer for the 50 in a slightly lower quote, makes Hills' more attractive.

The pick of City's many specials is Brothers In Arms, a Mark and Steve Waugh performance index.

Again a recommended buy at 85, points are awarded thus: 50 per century, 25 per half-ton, 10 per catch, 15 per wicket and 25 for either man hitting the winning run.

Even allowing for Mark's present plight, he is the best second-slipper in the world and on a hard, fast pitch like Adelaide, edges carry more often and tend to be thicker. He and Steve alongside him could pocket plenty.

Between them they have four Test tons and six half-centuries at The Oval while Mark took three wickets at Brisbane and assuming England don't fold as pitifully as they did in Perth, he can expect a few overs.

nRichard Smart of Stockport won the 20-day holiday to Australia for the fourth and fifth Tests in City Index's competition.
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 10, 1998
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