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Moore lays down challenge to Lions

England Lions

Stephen Moore

Opening batsman Stephen Moore toured New Zealand with England Lions earlier this year and will play for them this week

Stephen Moore believes it is the duty of the England Lions to “halt the momentum” of Australia ahead of the first Ashes Test at Cardiff on July 8.

Moore will be part of the Lions line-up taking on Ricky Ponting’s team in the tourists’ final warm-up game, at New Road, starting on Wednesday.

And the Worcestershire opener is confident the inclusion of proven Test performers such as Steve Harmison and skipper Ian Bell will make life tough for the tourists.

Moore said: “The Australians are going to be looking for some momentum going into that Ashes series. Anything we can do to halt that momentum is only going to help England’s chances.

“As you can see from the squad, we have got guys there who are just fantastic international cricketers, guys who are proven performers.

“You have got someone who was the best bowler in the world (Harmison), Ian Bell has proven he is an international batsman. You have got guys who have done it at international level.

“All those guys believe they are good enough to play in the Ashes. They are all going to want to prove a point.

“Therefore the Australians are no doubt going to have a tough match on their hands and, if we can upset the boat before the first Test, hopefully we can give the full side a bit of a leg-up before the game at Cardiff.

“But for Australia it is their last game before the first Test so they will be coming out with all guns blazing.”

Moore was the highest scorer in the country last season with 1,451 first-class runs and was rewarded with a spot on the Lions tour of New Zealand.

Stephen Moore

Moore amassed 1,451 first-class runs as Worcestershire won promotion to Division One of the LV= Championship

He has struggled to reproduce the same form during the current campaign but remains ambitious to play for England at senior level.

He said: “I was surprised to be called up by the Lions this time. I’ve always been an advocate of picking on form. I’ve said that throughout my career.

“I was really privileged to be picked and to play (against New Zealand) in the winter after a good summer.

“I was hoping to have a great start to this season but didn’t get it but I’ve managed to score some runs of late.

“The couple of fifties against Yorkshire in the last championship match and some runs in the Twenty20 have probably just tipped it in my favour. I thank the selectors for keeping faith in me.”

Moore added: “I’ve always made it clear that I want to play for England. I never intended to just stay playing on the county circuit.

“I always wanted to challenge myself and be the best player that I can be.

“I’ve still got a long way to go to achieve that but, playing in games like this, big games, will provide the perfect platform for me. It’s an opportunity to go out there and perform when it really counts.”