Gary Ballance: I'm ready if England want me

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Gary Ballance scored 89 for the England Performance Programme against Western Australia's second team Gary Ballance scored 89 for the England Performance Programme against Western Australia's second team

Gary Ballance insists he will be ready for a Test debut should he get an Ashes call after impressing with 89 in front of watching England coach Andy Flower for the Performance Programme (EPP) team in Perth.

Ballance made his highest score of the winter in a second-wicket stand of 193 with opener Sam Robson (108no) as EPP reached 220-2 declared, in reply to Western Australia Second XI’s 319-8 declared, on day two of three at James Oval.

Left-arm fast bowler Tymal Mills then took 3-6 to put WA’s second innings in immediate trouble, with all his wickets coming in his first eight deliveries as the hosts stumbled to 14-4. The hostile spell may well have caught Flower’s eye too.

However, Tim Armstrong (76no) hit his second half-century of the match to underpin a recovery to 167-6 at stumps.

Unlike Sydney-born Robson, who was making his second successive EPP century, Ballance is in England’s full Test squad - preparing across town to face Australia on Friday and hoping to overturn a 2-0 deficit with three matches to play.

Asked about the possibility of a first Test cap at some point this winter, the Yorkshire left-hander said: “I haven’t really thought about that too much.

“I’m just trying to look at this as good preparation. If I do get a chance, I feel I am ready.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes Flower may well come calling, writing on Twitter: “Sensing a Gary Balance [sic] debut this week.”

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