Chester-le-Street: Test batsman Eoin Morgan will captain England's second-string Lions against Australia in a two-day tour match at Northampton starting on August 16, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Monday.
Northamptonshire were originally due to play Australia at Wantage Road, but their qualification for English county cricket's Twenty20 finals day means the Lions now fulfill the fixture, which will serve as Australia's warm-up match for the fifth and final Ashes Test at London's Oval ground starting on August 21.
Former Ireland batsman Morgan, who played the last of his 16 England Tests in February, is one of several players in the Lions team who've previously represented England at senior level across all formats including Somerset wicketkeeper/batsman Jos Buttler and Yorkshire paceman Liam Plunkett.
"Northamptonshire's progression to the T20 finals day has presented us with a great opportunity to field a strong Lions team to face the Australians at Wantage Road," said England national selector Geoff Miller in an ECB statement.
"We have looked to reward the players from the county circuit who have performed well this season and will look to push for places in future England squads with this fixture," added the former England off-spinner, who said the fact the match clashed with finals day and ran near a number of other domestic ties had restricted the selectors in their choices for the Lions XI. As is always the case with these fixtures, they are an excellent marker for judging the level of these players at a very high international standard and we look forward to seeing the team perform strongly against the Australian opposition," Miller said of a Lions team who will be coached by England limited overs chief Ashley Giles.
England and Australia are currently contesting the ongoing fourth Test at Chester-le-Street, with England having already retained the Ashes at 2-0 up in the five-match series.
England Lions team to play Australia:
Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Keith Barker (Warwickshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset, wkt), James Harris (Middlesex), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Luke Wells (Sussex)