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Parsons pleased with Lions performances

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ECB performance director David Parsons is reflecting positively upon England Lions' unofficial Test series against Australia A despite both encounters ending in draws.

The Lions showed an aptitude for impressing when the chips were down against their Antipodean foes - a spirit that bodes well for their futures in international cricket.

Much like the opening game last week, that quality was evident at Edgbaston as England's second string yesterday recovered from 99 for five thanks to a sparkling hundred by Craig Kieswetter.

Indeed, the hosts finished yesterday on 240 for five - just 68 in arrears - thanks to an unbroken 142-run stand between the wicketkeeper-batsman and Chris Woakes, who struck 48 not out.

But, after bad light had intervened last night, the weather forecast proved frustratingly accurate as the fourth and final day was washed out.

Jonny Bairstow

Jonny Bairstow, who struck a century for the Lions last week, is playing for England in the third Investec Test against South Africa

Speaking exclusively to, Parsons said: "We expected it (the washout) to be honest - the forecast was not very good.

"There have been lots of really good individual performances in the two games. In this one, we would have been looking to get a first-innings lead had it gone the full four days.

"We would have hoped to then put Australia under pressure, but these games for us are all about two things: bridging the gap between county cricket and the senior England side and trying to re-create the England environment."

If the players find themselves seeking inspiration, they need look no further than Jonny Bairstow.

The Yorkshire wicketkeeper struck an excellent 139 for the Lions last week and is now in the England side tackling South Africa in the third Investec Test.

"We are looking for players that can provide evidence that they can deliver consistently high performances and, in particular, deliver under pressure," he added.

"It (the Bairstow situation) makes it very real for the players. Rather than it (Test cricket) seeming far away, it seems a lot closer when they watch players they have trained with make that step up.

"We've had a couple of players who have done well in the one-day teams and hopefully now people like Steven Finn and Jonny Bairstow will do it in the Test side.

"That makes it very real for our current players and it provides them with the challenge of making the step up as well."

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