sport

England Lions set for SA tour

England Lions, the national team's second-string, have announced plans to tour South Africa in 2015.

The Lions will play two four-day Test matches and five 50-over matches against South Africa A in January and February 2015, with their first warm-up match starting on January 5.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has agreed a reciprocal arrangement with Cricket South Africa, with the Proteas A team scheduled to tour England in 2017.

"The Lions tour to South Africa will be an excellent opportunity to take on some very tough opposition in a challenging environment," said ECB performance director David Parsons.

"It will also offer us an opportunity to test the players at the very highest level and allow the players to ultimately learn a great deal from the trip. We look forward to visiting South Africa early next year."

CSA general manager Corrie van Zyl added: "This is a very important agreement for us.

"It continues our policy of enabling our second-best team to test itself against some of the strongest cricket playing countries in the world.

"What is particularly important is that our A side will now tour England in 2017 at the same time as our senior squad is in that country. England is always an out-of-season tour for us and it will help a lot to know that our back-up players are match-fit in case of need."

Captain Chris Woakes led the Lions to a series victory against Sri Lanka A in the team's most recent tour.