England Lions bowler James Harris hoping to take full advantage of any Test opportunities that come his way after Steven Finn departure

England's bowlers have struggled to make any impact in Australia and the 23-year-old knows he could be handed a chance if he impresses on Tour of Sri Lanka

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The Independent Online

England Lions seamer James Harris is ready and willing to take advantage of any imminent vacancies in the Test side but does not expect Middlesex team-mate Steven Finn to be out of the picture for long.

The next few weeks represent a huge opportunity for England's second string, as they head on tour to Sri Lanka in a bid to establish themselves as viable alternatives to the senior squad following their 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

With Finn sent home early without having played a competitive match in three torturous months Down Under and the likes of Chris Tremlett, Boyd Rankin and Tim Bresnan all enduring forgettable series in Australia, Harris is among those hoping to take advantage.

And while the 23-year-old Welshman is enthused by the possibility, he does not see Finn's current exile continuing in the long term.

Indeed, he feels Finn might even seek inspiration in the architect of England's downfall - Mitchell Johnson.

Johnson was once seen by England fans as a comic figure but his comeback this winter was devastating, totalling 37 wickets at scarcely 14 apiece.

"Steven will be gutted. There's nothing worse than things not going how you'd like, something not clicking technically," said Harris.

"Finny's had the last couple of months trying to find something and that can get on top of you at times.

"He's got a bit of technical work to do but I spoke to (Middlesex director of cricket) Angus Fraser the other day and he said Finny had a chat with Mitchell Johnson.

"I think the same thing can happen for him. Johnson's gone from being completely off the radar to one of the hardest bowlers in the world to face. Finny's in that category.

"He'll be back in and flying and continue his international career."

As for his own ambitions, Harris is eager to impress in Sri Lanka and knows all the right eyes will be trained on the trip.

"The Lions is almost a more exciting place to be than ever, with opportunities closer than they have been in previous years," said Harris.

"Some good performances on a Lions trip and you could really push your case to be in the Test team come June.

"In past years there were one or maybe two places if you had a really good time, maybe there's a few more now.

"(Team director) Andy Flower is coming out to Sri Lanka for part of the tour, (batting coach) Graham Gooch is coming out for part of it and (national selector) James Whitaker as well.

"There are opportunities to show them first hand what you can do and if they like what they see there's a good chance you'll be in the team."