England Lions v Australians, tour match, Northampton, 1st day August 16, 2013

Ballance enhances international credentials

  shares 47

England Lions 269 for 7 (Ballance 104, Ali 61, Lyon 3-80) v Australians
Scorecard

Gary Ballance enhanced his international credentials with a stylish century against the Australians on a rain-affected first day in Northampton, where Nathan Lyon was the pick of a weakened attack.

Lyon enjoyed working against an England Lions order stacked with left-handers and collected 3 for 80, but he was unable to curb the influence of Ballance, who was out late in the day for 104.

The first session was lost to drizzle but a clear and sunny afternoon meant that 77 overs were still possible and Ballance used them to show that Yorkshire's production line of young batsmen extends beyond Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. Ballance had scored two centuries already this month, 112 against Warwickshire in the County Championship and 139 against Unicorns in the Yorkshire Bank 40, and here he looked the most accomplished of the England Lions batsmen.

Whereas the rest of the left-handers struggled against the away spin of Lyon, Ballance was less inclined to drive early and worked his way into form while waiting for the bad balls. He was strong when driving off the back foot - one such punch to the boundary brought up his half-century off Mitchell Starc - and drove down the ground against Ashton Agar, raising his hundred with his only six, a slog over midwicket from Steven Smith from his 153rd delivery.

But next ball Ballance fell in a not dissimilar style to Chris Rogers in the Lord's Test, missing a Smith full toss that the umpire adjudged would have gone on and hit the stumps. It was the second wicket Smith claimed with a rank full toss, after Jos Buttler on 7 sent one down the throat of Lyon at deep midwicket. Smith finished with 2 for 8 from two overs but his figures were far more attractive than his bowling, which was only used late in the day.

The presence of Starc and James Faulkner as the only seamers in Australia's attack meant that spin was the main order of the day and Lyon was used the most. After David Warner was brought on as first change, sending down some ordinary slow-medium seam-up offerings, the stand-in captain Shane Watson turned to Lyon and he was immediately effective, finding an edge from Alex Lees that was put down by Watson at first slip.

Lees was on 16 at the time but the miss wasn't too costly; on 33 he again edged Lyon and this one was taken by Watson, the first of three catches at slip that he claimed off Lyon's bowling. Lyon, who drifted the ball in from around the wicket and extracted some turn and bounce, was also unlucky not to have Moeen Ali caught at point on 15 when an edgy drive appeared to fall just short of Warner.

Lyon picked up his second wicket when Eoin Morgan launched a loose drive outside off and edged to Watson on 5, but that brought together Moeen and Ballance, who added 70 for the fourth wicket. Moeen looked nervous early against the ball turning away but was happier when Ashton Agar came on, lofting him over long-on for six before boosting his confidence further with a classy sweep for six off Lyon.

Moeen brought up his half-century with a flick through the leg side off Agar, who struggled to find the right line, bowling to a leg-side heavy field against the left-handers, and did little to enhance his chances of a return for the fifth Test at The Oval. In the end it was pace that accounted for Moeen, who on 61 edged Starc to second slip just after tea, providing the second wicket for the seamers after opener Luke Wells had earlier prodded tamely and edged Faulkner behind for 10.

Moeen's departure brought Ben Stokes to the crease to join Ballance and Stokes played a couple of impressive strokes, including a back-foot drive for four off Faulkner, but he did not give himself a chance of going on when Lyon returned to the attack. The first ball that Stokes faced from Lyon he tried an expansive drive through the off side and edged to Watson at first slip for 19.

Lyon finished with three wickets and had a couple of other close calls, including when a diving Smith at midwicket couldn't grasp a very tough chance off Buttler. On a greenish-tinged pitch that offered a little sideways movement but not much pace, Starc and Faulkner provided few seriously challenging deliveries to the England Lions' batsmen, which might encourage the Australian batting order ahead of the second day's play.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Optic on | August 16, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    Well done Gary. Like I've said before imo the best young batsmen in the Country. He's got a very good technique and has the ability to play long defensive innings as well as attacking run a all ones. What more, he's also an excellent one day player, who's been around the top of the run scorers the last few years with averages of 61 this year, 58 last and 61 in 2011. If we're going to rest a few of the test batsmen, it would be an ideal time to play him. He'd also be in my squad for the return Ashes leg.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    Not sure how anyone can reasonably claim Hain is Australian, considering he has two English parents and was born in Hong Kong. If Hain decides he wants to play for England, I don't see the problem.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | August 17, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    @Jono Makim That is the point that I am making. Australia are finally coming into the 21st century and realising that international mobility and dual nationality are facts of life. My father was British, but had dual nationality. My daughter has a different combination of dual nationality. I am British, but if I put my mind to it I could obtain two other nationalities. People emigrate. Many did emigrate from the UK after the War, often to South Africa (e.g. the Comptons) because like Australia (Sam Robson), it was a home away from home. You cannot legislate to stop people with the right to multiple nationalities, whose families emigrated in the recent past, declaring for whoever they want when national laws permit it. I applaud the ACB for ending the hypocrisy in this and accepting the realities of the modern world.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    @Cricketing Stargazer, yes, how dare we change a rule to keep our own players playing in our system... tut tut. Guys like Jaques, Robson and Hain have all represented Australia, its a joke that the ECB recognises them as local players in the first place.

    Gary Ballance has also represented Zimbabwe at underage level, while I don't begrudge him his opportunity at a proper career in England for one second, I still find it very sad that Zimbabwe has lost such a highly talented player to England, again. How long until we see overseas born players outnumbering Englishmen in the three Lions? Arguably, with the likes of Ballance, Robson, Stokes, Morgan, KP, Rankin, Dernbach, Kieswetter and Trott all on the scene it is entirely feasible, throw in Dockrell perhaps and young Chesney Hughes and that is looking like a well rounded team!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | August 17, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @Rob McGill- Root and Bairstow could do with some more practice. Don't see what's wrong with AW's idea. It's surely more useful than giving games to shorter format specialists who should be nowhere near the test side

    @Matt Hallett- Plunkett , Ali and Barker are all North of 25 and the examples which AW gave (who he said should be in the side) are all under 25. If Root and JB played in this game and failed it may have dented their confidence but by the same token , had they done well in this game it may have kickstarted them into some form. As for Jos - he did keep wicket in the last YB40 game. Somerset apparently had no deal with him that he'd keep in all shorter fmt games , but that they'd let him keep in certain games near to the time when he has a series for England

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | August 17, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @Andy_Wright on (August 16, 2013, 13:52 GMT) Yeah , I get your points. Craig is far better than Jos in the 4 day game but he seems out of the reckoning with Eng period right now. Also understand your reasoning behind the criticisms of Eng picking shorter format specialists for this game. They seem to have an obsession in trying to develop these players into test players. My take is that if they can't do it at county level then how are they likely to do it when up in levels? I'd say that if Morgan (if he starts playing more CC cricket) and Buttler show an upturn in form then start picking them for Lions games but until then give the opportunities to the CC form players. PS not sure Woakes is on the best of form in the CC this year (comp to last year) but they have continually picked him in shorter formats whereas this game is much more suited to his game

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | August 17, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Good runs for Ballance and Moeen, Ballance in with a real shout for being the spare batsman in Oz. Would've liked to see Robson and Burns in this game at the top of the order though, although with Burns playing for Surrey at Finals Day and Robson's international future undecided as of yet it perhaps wasn't possible. On another note, I hope this is a bit of a wake-up call for Morgan; I know he's had an injury which has interrupted his season, but he hasn't passed 50 in ANY of his innings this summer, international or domestic, at least not that I can remember. Hope he realises he needs to stop pretending he can wing it on limited overs form and needs to play a full First Class season next year if he's serious about getting back into the Test side.

    On the opposition, that decision to leave Lyon out for the first two Tests looks even more misguided with every over he bowls. He is no Warne - we know that - but he is a solid scrapper of an offie, with the potential to get better to boot.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | August 17, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Just out of curiosity and following up my previous post, can anyone explain the ogica of this match. Two days, 6 hours per day. Playing conditions for the County Championship request 96 overs per day and those are rarely completed by the 1800 scheduled Close (these do not apply here, so it requires goodwill to get the overs in). Then, if no result is possible on the final day, play ends an hour early.

    What is the logic in requesting and scheduling a match in which it is very unlikely, even given goodwill, that even two innings can be completed? In case someone asks, it is the visiting Board that requests the fxtures and that host Board that organising them and finds the opposition.

    This most be a strong contender for the most pointless match ever!

    [Incidentally, in a week where Australia have picked a Pakistani with a fast-tracked pastport and changed their rules to make it easier for dual nationals to play Tests for them, let's not talk about Gary Ballance!! Changed world]

  • POSTED BY OhhhhhMattyMatty on | August 17, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Ballance averages 46.81 in domestic FC cricket in England (despite playing at Headingley and debuting in English cricket as a 16 year old!). He's also averages 48, 39 and 64 in his last 3 seasons in English county cricket. Hitting 6 hundreds and 17 fifties in just 58 innings. He's the best young batsman in the game along with Alex Lees and Joe Root.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | August 17, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    @jmcilhinney THe game is being played at Wantage Road because it was originally a fixture for Northamptonshire v tourists. As Northamptonshire are otherwise engaged this weekend, the game was re-arranged as a Lions game, but, obviously, with no Surrey, Northamptonshire, Essex ot Hampshire players being considered. And, strangely, Sam Robson was not picked either (I have my theories on that).

    It's not a terrilbly satisfactory game given that 100 overs per side, as scheduled, would barely fit into two full days, let alone a match that has already lost a session and may well lose more today.

  • POSTED BY Optic on | August 16, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    Well done Gary. Like I've said before imo the best young batsmen in the Country. He's got a very good technique and has the ability to play long defensive innings as well as attacking run a all ones. What more, he's also an excellent one day player, who's been around the top of the run scorers the last few years with averages of 61 this year, 58 last and 61 in 2011. If we're going to rest a few of the test batsmen, it would be an ideal time to play him. He'd also be in my squad for the return Ashes leg.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    Not sure how anyone can reasonably claim Hain is Australian, considering he has two English parents and was born in Hong Kong. If Hain decides he wants to play for England, I don't see the problem.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | August 17, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    @Jono Makim That is the point that I am making. Australia are finally coming into the 21st century and realising that international mobility and dual nationality are facts of life. My father was British, but had dual nationality. My daughter has a different combination of dual nationality. I am British, but if I put my mind to it I could obtain two other nationalities. People emigrate. Many did emigrate from the UK after the War, often to South Africa (e.g. the Comptons) because like Australia (Sam Robson), it was a home away from home. You cannot legislate to stop people with the right to multiple nationalities, whose families emigrated in the recent past, declaring for whoever they want when national laws permit it. I applaud the ACB for ending the hypocrisy in this and accepting the realities of the modern world.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    @Cricketing Stargazer, yes, how dare we change a rule to keep our own players playing in our system... tut tut. Guys like Jaques, Robson and Hain have all represented Australia, its a joke that the ECB recognises them as local players in the first place.

    Gary Ballance has also represented Zimbabwe at underage level, while I don't begrudge him his opportunity at a proper career in England for one second, I still find it very sad that Zimbabwe has lost such a highly talented player to England, again. How long until we see overseas born players outnumbering Englishmen in the three Lions? Arguably, with the likes of Ballance, Robson, Stokes, Morgan, KP, Rankin, Dernbach, Kieswetter and Trott all on the scene it is entirely feasible, throw in Dockrell perhaps and young Chesney Hughes and that is looking like a well rounded team!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | August 17, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @Rob McGill- Root and Bairstow could do with some more practice. Don't see what's wrong with AW's idea. It's surely more useful than giving games to shorter format specialists who should be nowhere near the test side

    @Matt Hallett- Plunkett , Ali and Barker are all North of 25 and the examples which AW gave (who he said should be in the side) are all under 25. If Root and JB played in this game and failed it may have dented their confidence but by the same token , had they done well in this game it may have kickstarted them into some form. As for Jos - he did keep wicket in the last YB40 game. Somerset apparently had no deal with him that he'd keep in all shorter fmt games , but that they'd let him keep in certain games near to the time when he has a series for England

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | August 17, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @Andy_Wright on (August 16, 2013, 13:52 GMT) Yeah , I get your points. Craig is far better than Jos in the 4 day game but he seems out of the reckoning with Eng period right now. Also understand your reasoning behind the criticisms of Eng picking shorter format specialists for this game. They seem to have an obsession in trying to develop these players into test players. My take is that if they can't do it at county level then how are they likely to do it when up in levels? I'd say that if Morgan (if he starts playing more CC cricket) and Buttler show an upturn in form then start picking them for Lions games but until then give the opportunities to the CC form players. PS not sure Woakes is on the best of form in the CC this year (comp to last year) but they have continually picked him in shorter formats whereas this game is much more suited to his game

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | August 17, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Good runs for Ballance and Moeen, Ballance in with a real shout for being the spare batsman in Oz. Would've liked to see Robson and Burns in this game at the top of the order though, although with Burns playing for Surrey at Finals Day and Robson's international future undecided as of yet it perhaps wasn't possible. On another note, I hope this is a bit of a wake-up call for Morgan; I know he's had an injury which has interrupted his season, but he hasn't passed 50 in ANY of his innings this summer, international or domestic, at least not that I can remember. Hope he realises he needs to stop pretending he can wing it on limited overs form and needs to play a full First Class season next year if he's serious about getting back into the Test side.

    On the opposition, that decision to leave Lyon out for the first two Tests looks even more misguided with every over he bowls. He is no Warne - we know that - but he is a solid scrapper of an offie, with the potential to get better to boot.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | August 17, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Just out of curiosity and following up my previous post, can anyone explain the ogica of this match. Two days, 6 hours per day. Playing conditions for the County Championship request 96 overs per day and those are rarely completed by the 1800 scheduled Close (these do not apply here, so it requires goodwill to get the overs in). Then, if no result is possible on the final day, play ends an hour early.

    What is the logic in requesting and scheduling a match in which it is very unlikely, even given goodwill, that even two innings can be completed? In case someone asks, it is the visiting Board that requests the fxtures and that host Board that organising them and finds the opposition.

    This most be a strong contender for the most pointless match ever!

    [Incidentally, in a week where Australia have picked a Pakistani with a fast-tracked pastport and changed their rules to make it easier for dual nationals to play Tests for them, let's not talk about Gary Ballance!! Changed world]

  • POSTED BY OhhhhhMattyMatty on | August 17, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Ballance averages 46.81 in domestic FC cricket in England (despite playing at Headingley and debuting in English cricket as a 16 year old!). He's also averages 48, 39 and 64 in his last 3 seasons in English county cricket. Hitting 6 hundreds and 17 fifties in just 58 innings. He's the best young batsman in the game along with Alex Lees and Joe Root.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | August 17, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    @jmcilhinney THe game is being played at Wantage Road because it was originally a fixture for Northamptonshire v tourists. As Northamptonshire are otherwise engaged this weekend, the game was re-arranged as a Lions game, but, obviously, with no Surrey, Northamptonshire, Essex ot Hampshire players being considered. And, strangely, Sam Robson was not picked either (I have my theories on that).

    It's not a terrilbly satisfactory game given that 100 overs per side, as scheduled, would barely fit into two full days, let alone a match that has already lost a session and may well lose more today.

  • POSTED BY Lmaotsetung on | August 17, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    PEOPLE...PEOPLE...PEOPLE who do not follow the English game....Ballance's avg is boost up from his stint playing first class cricket in Zim. Don't just look at stats and think you are an expert when it comes to the England squad.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    Poor Agar. He's had the stuffing knocked out of him as the tour has progressed. Hope he has the steel to come through this.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | August 17, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    @ Rob McGill. Perhaps it is you who has " no idea what the Lions squad is used for?" If, as you claim, "the Lions squad is made up of players on the fringe of the England squad or players the ECB are looking at," what on earth is the "not done it at test match level" Eoin Morgan doing captaining the Lions squad when he has already failed in test cricket? Bairstow - 20 inns, ave 30.22. Morgan - 24 inns, ave 30.43.

  • POSTED BY PFEL on | August 17, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    This is why Zimbabwe need to start playing more Test Cricket, all their best young players are moving to England!

  • POSTED BY DylanBrah on | August 17, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    Why is Bairstow playing for England with a FC ave of 44.50, when you have Ballance in the wings averaging 53.50?

  • POSTED BY Chris_Howard on | August 17, 2013, 1:27 GMT

    Strewth! Can't believe Ballance isn't already playing for England. From 61 first class games, he has a First Class average better than any other English batsman in the Test team, in fact his is the only one that is 50+, and better than any Australian Test batsman for that matter, Clarke included. Ballance (53.5) and Rogers(50.2) are in fact the only two of the lot with First Class averages over 50.

    Can't see England picking him for the Fifth Test - Bairstow hasn't done enough wrong - , but I hope they bring him to Australia, I do want to see him bat.

  • POSTED BY OhhhhhMattyMatty on | August 17, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Looks like we've seen the end of Morgan and emergence of Ballance, particularly in the FC arena. Hopefully in the ODI and T20 arena too!

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | August 17, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    @Andy_Wright on (August 16, 2013, 13:52 GMT), I can't remember which bit this game was originally intended to be against a county who have advance to the limited-overs finals so this Lions squad was put together hastily and with players not needed by their counties right now.

  • POSTED BY Tyler02 on | August 17, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    Not another foreigner who played under19s for his country. Going to be in England side before you know it. Find talent within. What a joke!!!

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | August 16, 2013, 23:47 GMT

    "...fell in a not dissimilar style to Chris Rogers..." you mean he got tangled up in a ball that was going on to miss the stumps by the width of a sumi wrestler and then incorrectly given out?

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 22:15 GMT

    I'm surprised Steve Smith wasn't given a chance to skipper the side. He's got a slightly better chance than Shane Watson to stay in the Test squad on form (and tendency to injury) plus he's shown some captaincy nous in 20/20 cricket.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | August 16, 2013, 22:14 GMT

    Well played Gary Ballance and Moeen Ali who have enhanced their already considerable reputations. In contrast, Eoin Morgan's chances of ever playing a Test again seem to be receding by the day. I am looking forward to see how the Lions attack fares tomorrow against the Australian batsmen, several of whom will be hoping that runs get them a recall for the 5th Test.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    @Andy Wright: " Also, Liam Plunkett? He's 28 years old and nowhere near the England team."

    Fellow, the reason for that is simple. It is because Liam Plunkett is rubbish.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 21:14 GMT

    How many catches has Wade dropped so far? Matthew "Shelve 'em" Wade's built up quite an impressive tally to date.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 16, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    England "Lions" is nothing more than a fancy name for England A. These are the fringe players the ECB are looking closely at. There used to be a time when I used to think these guys were the English ODI team hahahahaha.

  • POSTED BY Harlequin. on | August 16, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    2 players who have been consistently scoring runs for their county (Ballance & Moeen) are the ones who score runs for the Lions. That would seem to indicate a healthy county championship!

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | August 16, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    Watson's great idea was to bring on David Warner as first-change bowler, who promptly released any pressure with a handy 0-25 off 4 overs. Top captaincy skills Shane.

  • POSTED BY Andy_Wright on | August 16, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    In reply to the Facebook poster here who criticised my understanding of the Lions squad - I understand exactly what the England Lions are all about, I just disagree with the selection decisions.

    Morgan is unlikely to replace Bairstow in the England team for the last Test, so why not give Bairstow some much-needed time in the middle? Root and Bairstow played for the Lions as recently as this May as preparation for the summer's cricket. Ian Bell also played for the Lions to gain some form in 2012 after his disastrous batting in the UAE, so there is precedent for this use of the Lions team.

    I would also be looking at Kieswetter more closely than Buttler for Tests and surely Chris Tremlett or Chris Woakes would be ahead of Plunkett for the bowling pecking order, too.

    At the end of the day, this is just my two-pence - take it as you will.

  • POSTED BY GeoffreysMother on | August 16, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Rob McGill - harsh comment on Bairstow. Apart from Bell. Clarke and Rogers he sits in the middle of a host of players averaging around 30 in this series. That suggests that on the pitches played on in this series 30 is equivalent to 40-45 on flat tracks. His average against New Zealand was over 40 again well above a number of other England batsmen (Compton averaged 10). Whist the argument for retaining experienced test players because they have done well in the past and will do again (Bell against New Zealand/ Prior and Cook here) it is harsh to pick on less experienced players who have actually done better than them in the last two series. It is tempted to pick the next untried kid on the block but though there are a couple worth looking at closely (Taylor and Ballance) it is not obvious they would perform better against Harris and Siddle on difficult wickets.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | August 16, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    Well done Gary Ballance. A century today for the lions won't do your prospects of playing for England any harm going forwards

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | August 16, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Nice way for Ballance to get to 100! Shame about the next ball.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | August 16, 2013, 16:57 GMT

    Good job by Lyon, hope he really improves in the next 2 - 3 years and becomes a Graeme Swann type bowler.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 16:57 GMT

    How good is Gazza going?! Really hopes he gets a good run now, obviously he could be a whole lot better but he is on the right track and we need to stick with him.

    Ballance doing well, as I thought he would, I reckon he could be 'England's' next batting star.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    What is ICC doing. They are no good at all. Can they measure upto FIFA. No way not in this Century. They have mediocre umpires. Their schedules are below par. Previously they used to have many friendly fixtures against the English Counties. They hardly now hold one or two matches. Whose decision is it to have a two-day match. You do not achieve anything in a three day match and it is a joke to hold a two day match. What sort of elite umpires. Umpires who keenly watch the crease but shy of giving run outs and ask the third umpire to decide. The DRS is no good. After some time umpires will get united and go along with the field umpires . This already happened and Dharmasena went along with field umpire in one decision instead of overturning it. Some of the umpires are no good Dharmasena included. Why cant ICC think of training umpires. ESCPN CRICINFO. Don't just thank me and not pulish this as usual. I hope you will pulish this. Thanksl

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 16, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Gary Ballance is turning into a run machine. His last 4 innings before this (FC and List A) were 112, 45, 56, 139 and here he is with another score. It can't be long before England have to give him a shot just based on sheer weight of runs. He's still only 23 with a FC average of 53 and a List-A average of 55. 16 FC centuries and 5 List-A centuries. Australia would trade any batsman in the squad except Clarke for a young player like him.

    @Andy_Wright: not a bad idea, though my future XI wouldn't be the same as yours. Alex Lees, playing in this match, would replace Robson, Foakes for Kies (he's never going to be a test player), Finn and Topley for Woakes and Roland-Jones. Barker's a good prospect and so is Shiv Thakor.

    However, in 2017 Cook and Broad will be 32 and 31 respectively and I'd expect them still to be in the side.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | August 16, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    Australia dropped the Ashes, when they dropped Lyon. Had he been in the first two matches like they planned for the previous two years... Hughes gets a brilliant 80 odd over 200 ball when all around him collapse and then after two low scores in the next match he's dropped. I can't believe that Watson is captain this team again. I think the Australian selectors must have some sort of multiple personality disorder. With a bit of luck Clarke will bowl him until he breaks down so he's not in the return series. Knowing Watto, he'll probably stay fit just to spite Clarke.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    @ Andy_Wright - it's a two day game, there's no need to pick Lions regulars like Taylor and Woakes, we know what they can do. They've deliberately picked a young team with several first appearances being made. Picking Root or Bairstow would be bad for their confidence and served no purpose. Regarding Buttler, I think it is more so that he'll get a game with the gloves, which he isn't doing for Somerset, ahead of the Australia ODIs.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    When Starc came to international Cricket, I thought, he would be a good replacement to Mitchell. Of course, the current Starc is far better than the current Mitchell.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | August 16, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    +1 Alex And Wade bowling can't be worse than Warner.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | August 16, 2013, 15:41 GMT

    Why are Aus even playing this match....2 days isn't even worth the effort/risk. to top it off it's reduced by rain - when we lost the toss and were asked to bowl, we should've just packed up and left the place.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    When I took look at the playgoers in the England, England Lions, & England Under-19, I was amazed to see the number of players from one county: Yorkshire. Boycott (and his Mom) must be happy!

  • POSTED BY Guernica on | August 16, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    Indeed @o-bomb and Lions top 6 are all left-handed...

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    Why not give Hughes the gloves for this game? He can't be worse than Wade, plus then Wade can be the third seamer...

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    @ Andy_Wright You obviously have no idea what the Lions squad is used for do you? The Lions squad is made up of players on the fringe of the England squad or players the ECB are looking at, so why would Bairstow or Root be in the Lions squad when there already in the England team? Bairstow needs dropping he's not done it at test match level!

  • POSTED BY o-bomb on | August 16, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    Is that 7 players on each side bat left handed? Lees, Wells, Ali, Morgan, Ballance, Stokes, Barker, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja, Wade, Cowan, Agar and Starc. That can't happen often.

  • POSTED BY Andy_Wright on | August 16, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    Some strange selections in this team. Eoin Morgan is not good enough for red-ball cricket. They could've used the opportunity to give the likes of Root and Bairstow some extra match practice, and some young guys closer to the England team a chance to show what they can do. I'm not sure why England are playing Jos Buttler when Craig Kieswetter is a far superior four-day batsman and just as good a 'keeper. Also, Liam Plunkett? He's 28 years old and nowhere near the England team. Barker, Harris and Kerrigan I can get behind, but no Toby Roland-Jones or Chris Woakes?

    My pick for this match would've been a side that's likely to face Australia in Tests in 2017. In batting order: Joe Root*, Sam Robson, James Taylor, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Craig Kieswetter+, Chris Woakes, Keith Barker (more likely Steven Finn in 2017 though), Toby Roland-Jones, Simon Kerrigan.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    What a pity! What Australia badly need is batting practice! With the moody weather, they may never get to that point! That too, in a 2-day Match

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    What a pity! What Australia badly need is batting practice! With the moody weather, they may never get to that point! That too, in a 2-day Match

  • POSTED BY Andy_Wright on | August 16, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    Some strange selections in this team. Eoin Morgan is not good enough for red-ball cricket. They could've used the opportunity to give the likes of Root and Bairstow some extra match practice, and some young guys closer to the England team a chance to show what they can do. I'm not sure why England are playing Jos Buttler when Craig Kieswetter is a far superior four-day batsman and just as good a 'keeper. Also, Liam Plunkett? He's 28 years old and nowhere near the England team. Barker, Harris and Kerrigan I can get behind, but no Toby Roland-Jones or Chris Woakes?

    My pick for this match would've been a side that's likely to face Australia in Tests in 2017. In batting order: Joe Root*, Sam Robson, James Taylor, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Craig Kieswetter+, Chris Woakes, Keith Barker (more likely Steven Finn in 2017 though), Toby Roland-Jones, Simon Kerrigan.

  • POSTED BY o-bomb on | August 16, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    Is that 7 players on each side bat left handed? Lees, Wells, Ali, Morgan, Ballance, Stokes, Barker, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja, Wade, Cowan, Agar and Starc. That can't happen often.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    @ Andy_Wright You obviously have no idea what the Lions squad is used for do you? The Lions squad is made up of players on the fringe of the England squad or players the ECB are looking at, so why would Bairstow or Root be in the Lions squad when there already in the England team? Bairstow needs dropping he's not done it at test match level!

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    Why not give Hughes the gloves for this game? He can't be worse than Wade, plus then Wade can be the third seamer...

  • POSTED BY Guernica on | August 16, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    Indeed @o-bomb and Lions top 6 are all left-handed...

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    When I took look at the playgoers in the England, England Lions, & England Under-19, I was amazed to see the number of players from one county: Yorkshire. Boycott (and his Mom) must be happy!

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | August 16, 2013, 15:41 GMT

    Why are Aus even playing this match....2 days isn't even worth the effort/risk. to top it off it's reduced by rain - when we lost the toss and were asked to bowl, we should've just packed up and left the place.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | August 16, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    +1 Alex And Wade bowling can't be worse than Warner.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    When Starc came to international Cricket, I thought, he would be a good replacement to Mitchell. Of course, the current Starc is far better than the current Mitchell.