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    England get tougher Ashes warm-up game

    Sydney: England will face stronger opposition ahead of their Ashes Test opener with an invitational side to replace a New South Wales XI in Sydney next month, Cricket Australia said on Thursday.

    Amid reports that England wanted a tougher match ahead of the first Gabba Test against Michael Clarke's Australians on November 21, the Invitational XI will feature a number of leading batsmen hand-picked from other states for the November 13-16 clash.

    While the full line-up has yet to be determined, CA said it expected the side would feature players including Usman Khawaja, Phil Hughes, Ed Cowan, Aaron Finch and Adam Voges.

    CA's General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard said the change was part of an ongoing plan to strengthen the country's batting depth.

    "We feel this match presents a good opportunity to give a core group of talented batsmen from a number of states further experience against a strong international line-up," Howard said in a statement.

    "The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) is supportive of this plan. It wanted us to field a strong line-up, so we will use the opportunity to promote key players in the Australian system.

    "In return, we look forward to the ECB fielding powerful teams for the touring Australian side in 2015." Reports said England was originally upset to learn that the NSW XI game clashed with a full round of Sheffield Shield domestic matches and it would not face top players.

    The Australian newspaper reported that the ECB complained to Cricket Australia about the situation. England have another warm-up game in Hobart next week against a strong Australia A side.