IT'S not all about the Cricket World Cup final today, as the England Lions take on a Australia XI with several players looking to force themselves into Ashes contention with a good performance in Canterbury

None more so than Lewis Gregory, the Somerset all-rounder captaining the England side in the four-day game which begins today.

They take on a squad which features 12 players with Test caps for Australia, but the Lions squad also has Test experience in its midst, with Sam Curran, Ben Foakes and Gregory's Somerset team-mate Jack Leach all in the mix.

Gregory said: “It’s a really good opportunity and challenge to face up to some guys who have played a lot of international cricket.

“It’s the pinnacle of the sport we play and it’s the aspiration of all the guys in the dressing room to play international cricket, so it will be a good opportunity to see where guys are at.

“I think some will see it as an opportunity to go out and perform, and maybe put on such a good performance that they can be talked about for the Ashes.”

Gregory has captaincy experience from his T20 role at Somerset, as well as having led the Lions in their pre-Christmas tour in the UAE, although the seamer - who has taken 44 County Championship wickets this season - admits he’s quite new to skippering red-ball cricket.

But he knows his team-mates are also coming in to the game in great form; opener Dom Sibley is the highest-scoring Englishman in the Championship, while paceman Ollie Robinson has 40 wickets for Sussex this term.

He added: “It’s a good bunch of guys and they’re here because they’ve been successful in county cricket, so they deserve their chance.

"Hopefully we can bond very quickly over the next few days and put on a good performance.

“Guys have been performing, and that’s why they’re here.

"I’m trying to be chilled and let guys go out and do what they’ve been doing in county cricket.

“Ultimately it’s just another game of cricket; your team-mates are different and it’s different opposition but it’s important to be relaxed and to go out and play.”