Prior injury a problem for England

November 11, 2013
Cricket - International Cricket - Bet Now at Bet365

England are sweating on the fitness of wicketkeeper Matt Prior, after he was ruled out of the final Ashes warm-up match due to a calf problem.

Prior will sit out the four-day clash with a CA Invitational XI in Sydney and has just over a week to prove his fitness for the opening Test against Australia, which starts at the Gabba on Thursday 21st November, with Jonny Bairstow standing by to deputise.

England batsman Ian Bell admits that Prior is a key figure for England and hopes to see him take to the field in Brisbane in that first Test match.

He told reporters: "Matt is a key player for us - as vice-captain, he's a really important guy to have in our dressing room.

"It's a little bit disappointing, but I believe there is enough time still for that first Test match to get him fully fit and on the field."

England can now be backed at 2.50 to win the first Test, with the draw 3.60, while Australia are 2.62 to triumph at the Gabba and take a 1-0 series lead.

England batsman Kevin Pietersen, however, is expected to feature at the SCG, having reacted well to a cortisone injection in his troublesome knee.

There have also been a couple of late changes to the CA Invitational XI side, with Ashes hopefuls Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja released to play for their respective state sides in the Sheffield Shield.

Meanwhile, left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson is poised to return to the Australia Test fold, after he was withdrawn from the Western Australia squad for their clash with South Australia.

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