Mark Stoneman admits he will be “on trial” in England’s two-Test series against New Zealand.

Stoneman is well aware he failed to take the chances in this winter’s 4-0 Ashes defeat which might have established him as a lasting opening partner for all-time national record runscorer Alastair Cook.

Instead, after a campaign which brought Stoneman 232 runs at an average of 25.77, he knows he must restate his claims against another high-quality pace attack here.

England’s Mark Stoneman walks off after being dismissed during day one of the Ashes Test match at Sydney Cricket Ground (Jason O'Brien/PA)England’s Mark Stoneman walks off after being dismissed during day one of the Ashes Test match at Sydney Cricket Ground (Jason O’Brien/PA)

For Australia’s Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, read New Zealand’s Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner – pace marginally down, but swing prevalent again.

Two months after packing away the Ashes with an innings defeat in the final Test in Sydney, Stoneman said: “I think I’ve got myself on trial really.”

But following the first net session of a week in Hamilton before Auckland’s inaugural pink-ball Test next week, he spelled out too that he will not lack for self-confidence.

“I always put myself under pressure and can be my own worst critic at times.

“I’m expecting good things of myself – that’s the most important thing.”

England’s selectors have demonstrated belief too, by selecting him for this tour.

“It’s nice to have that bit of faith in you,” added the 30-year-old left-hander.

“They’ve seen something in what I’ve done so far to show there’s a good international career to be unlocked – so that’s the kind of expectations and pressure I’m putting on myself to fulfil that.”

Stoneman made two early half-centuries in Australia, but mustered just 42 more runs in four innings after being hit on the helmet during a brilliant barrage of short bowling from Hazlewood in Perth.

  • The Gabba: 53 & 27
  • Adelaide: 18 & 36
  • Perth: 56 & 3
  • Melbourne: 15
  • Sydney: 24 & 0

He gives no credence, however, to the theory that blow might have spooked him.“I think it was just coincidental on the back of that, and it was unfortunate I wasn’t able to finish the series stronger,” he said, before acknowledging there will be no gimme runs against the Kiwis either.

“It’s Test cricket, and New Zealand have got some world-class operators.

“In their home conditions, I’m sure they’re going to be a handful … I don’t expect anything to be easy in Test cricket.”

As for the Ashes, Stoneman will neither hide from shortcomings nor dwell on them either.

“It was obviously disappointing,” he said.

“On a personal note, there was good stuff in there, but I think I left myself a bit short at times as well.”

He insists he is capable of better – but knows, with a sub-30 average after eight Tests, he must prove it soon.

“I’m hungry for runs and I feel as though I’ve got it in myself to really perform at this level.

“I’ve shown glimpses.

“But that’s been the problem – it’s only been glimpses so far – and if I can go on and do some really good stuff here I hope I can have a successful international career.”

For inspiration, it is handy that he need look no further than 22 yards up the pitch to watch Cook showing how it is done – as he did with a wonderful double-century in the drawn Boxing Day Test.

“There’s no finer example than Cooky,” said Stoneman.

“He showed a classic example of everything he’s about as a player in that double-hundred he scored in Melbourne.”