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Ballance brushes off warm-up defeats

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Gary Ballance expects England Lions to raise their game when the one-day series with Australia A begins in Melbourne tomorrow.

The Lions have had a tough time of things since arriving Down Under, losing all three of their warm-up games.

However, Ballance is aware that will count for little should they emerge victorious in five 50-over matches against their Australian counterparts.

“Obviously it’s disappointing to lose (the warm-up fixtures),” Ballance told ecb.co.uk.

Gary Ballance

Gary Ballance is aware England Lions need to raise their standards when they take on Australia A. "Hopefully we can improve," he said

“Everybody wants to win, but the aim of the tour was to come out against Australia A and win that series. Hopefully we can improve.”

Ballance’s own form has been a source of optimism for the Lions.

The Yorkshire all-rounder has contributed scores of 86 and 57 in his two innings on tour to date, a fine start for a player experiencing Australian conditions for the first time.

“Personally I feel I’ve been hitting the ball well,” he added.

“I’ve got two decent scores now. I’ve played nicely and had a good time out in the middle.”

If the Lions are to triumph in Australia, they will need to overcome their relative lack of experience in comparison to their opponents.

Six members of the touring party have gained international honours, compared to 11 of the Australia A squad.

In addition, a number of the home players featured in Australia’s recent limited-overs matches against West Indies.

Of those in the Lions set-up, only Alex Hales has played for England this year.

“They have obviously picked a very strong squad,” said Ballance of Australia A’s selection. “They are good players with international experience so it’s going to be a tough series.”