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Sam Billings braced for tough test against strong Prime Minister’s XI

Nathan Lyon will captain a decorated home XI in Canberra.

Sam Billings is expecting a serious test when England’s Twenty20 side face a Prime Minister’s XI bursting with international experience

The tourists have one warm-up game to prepare for the Trans-Tasman tri-series against Australia and New Zealand and there is no chance of Friday’s outing in Canberra being a walk in the Manuka park.

Seven of the 11 players playing under Malcolm Turnbull’s banner have international experience, totalling 239 Australia caps across all formats.

With Ashes-winning spinner Nathan Lyon captaining, experienced all-rounder James Faulkner and recent Test picks Nic Maddinson and Peter Nevill all on duty it is one of the strongest PM teams in recent memory – a fact which has not gone unnoticed in the away dressing room.

“We’re here to win this game and every game we play is must-win, but they’ve got a seriously good side,” said Billings.

“It’s a really good challenge. It’s the best kind of test for us, for sure, they have lots of guys who’ve played for Australia. It should be a really good game and hopefully we can put on a really good show for the Canberra crowd.”

Billings was an unused squad member as England won the recent one-day series 4-1 but should play a more active role in the shortest format.

The likes of Joe Root, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali may have headed home for a rest after the conclusion of the ODI campaign but Billings and company are looking to keep the winning feeling alive.

“One-day cricket is very much a confidence game, you play an attacking brand of cricket and a lot of that translate to the the T20s,” he said.

“It’s all a bit compressed but one-day cricket is all about confidence. We’ve done well in the one-dayers, it was a good result in that format and we’ll try to keep it going.”

England will be without Alex Hales at the Manuka Oval, due to a hand injury sustained while dropping a catch in the fifth ODI in Perth, with Liam Plunkett and Chris Jordan also expected to sit out.

The pair are both nursing minor hamstring injuries and are unlikely to be risked, leaving Mark Wood, David Willey and Tom Curran to lead the seam attack.

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