Youngster Lees sees development rewarded further with Lions call

Yorkshire’s Alex Lees, Gary Ballance and Liam Plunkett have been rewarded for their fine form this summer with a call-up to the England Lions’ squad.

Yorkshire's Alex Lees celebrates his half-century.

The trio will represent the Lions against Australia in a two-day game in Northampton, which begins on Friday.

Northamptonshire CCC were originally due to play Australia at Wantage Road, but due to their qualification for the Friends Life t20 Finals Day, the Lions team, led by Eoin Morgan, will now fulfil the fixture.

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Halifax-born Lees, 20, has made a huge impression this season, scoring a century against Middlesex at Lord’s in April just two matches after his first-class debut. In June he scored 275 not out against Derbyshire at Chesterfield.

Zimbabwe-born left-hander Ballance is back in the Lions team after spearheading Yorkshire’s Championship title challenge and former Durham pace bowler Plunkett returns to the England fold after re-energising his career at Headingley since his switch in the close season. The two-day game will not impact on any fixtures for Yorkshire.

Ashley Giles will coach the side which, as well as Lees, contains two other debutants in Warwickshire bowler Keith Barker and Sussex batsman Luke Wells. The side will include a number of players who have represented England before at senior level across different formats. These include Plunkett, Morgan, Ballance, Jos Butler, James Harris and Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes.

National selector Geoff Miller said: “We have looked to reward the players from the County circuit who have performed well this season and will look to push for places in future England squads with this fixture.

“As is always the case with these fixtures, they are an excellent marker for judging the level of these players at a very high international standard and we look forward to seeing the team perform strongly against the Australian opposition.”