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Unsteady start for Lions despite Ballance

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Gary Ballance’s 86 could not stop England Lions falling to a comprehensive eight-wicket defeat in the opening warm-up match on their tour of Australia.

After being asked to bat by Victoria skipper Cameron White in a 50-over encounter at Melbourne's Junction Oval, the Lions lost wickets at regular intervals following Varun Chopra and James Vince’s 68-run opening stand.

Gary Ballance & Peter Handscomb

Gary Ballance is one of the few shining lights for the Lions as they began their tour of Australia with a defeat against Victoria

The loss of the former for 19 heralded a collapse as the tourists quickly slipped to 74 for five, Scott Boland claiming three wickets and Fawad Ahmed two.

Yet Yorkshire’s Ballance, supported by a responsible 25 from Rikki Clarke, responded outstandingly, showing typical power in a 96-delivery knock that featured 11 fours and two sixes.

Craig Overton also chipped in with 19 as the Lions eventually posted a below-par 225 for eight.

That proved no obstacle for Victoria, for whom opener Rob Quiney led the way by striking 16 fours and three sixes in a 104-ball 122.

He would eventually depart just before victory was reached, becoming the second of Overton’s wickets, but David Hussey accompanied Peter Handscomb, who struck 67 not out, in seeing the hosts to the target.

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