Two-day exam for England A

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England A will face one of their toughest tests of their Australian tour when they meet New South Wales in the first of two one-day matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground today.

New South Wales, without the injured Mark Taylor, Mark and Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan, have still picked a side bristling with talent to face the touring team. The all-rounder Shane Lee and the attacking opener Michael Slater, both members of Australia's World Cup squad which lost in the final to Sri Lanka, are included alongside the former Test player Greg Matthews.

"We are approaching it as a two-match one-day series and winning both will greatly improve the opinion people have over here of English cricket," David Graveney, the manager, said.

Jason Gallian, the Lancashire opener unavailable with a cracked right index finger since 18 November, will have a net session prior to the match, but is more likely to return for the second one-day game in Wollongong on Saturday. The fast bowler Dean Headley will play after 10 days' rest but England will not finalise their line-up until today.

ENGLAND A (from): M A Butcher, M P Vaughan, J E R Gallian, A McGrath, O A Shah, *A J Hollioake, M A Ealham, C White, W K Hegg, A F Giles, G Chapple, D W Headley, P M Such, A J Harris.

NEW SOUTH WALES: *G R J Matthews, T Bayliss, P A Emery, S Lee, B E McNamara, C J Richards, K J Roberts, G Robertson, M J Slater, A M Stuart, S M Thompson.