The Ashes 2013-14 November 9, 2013

Prior to have scan on calf injury


England have suffered an injury scare 12 days before the first Ashes Test in Brisbane after wicketkeeper Matt Prior was unable to take the field with his team-mates in Hobart due to a calf problem, which will require a scan.

Prior batted when the match resumed after two days of rain, falling lbw when trying to sweep the left-arm spinner Jon Holland after making 26. However he did not reappear in the middle for the Australia A innings, undergoing treatment for what the ECB described as a "tight left calf".

Andy Flower, England's team director, said that it was too early to determine how serious the injury was but was hopeful about Prior's fitness for the Ashes opener. England travel to Sydney on Sunday, with only one more four-day match, against an Invitational XI, before the Test series begins.

"He's tweaked something in his calf, we're not sure of the extent of it yet. He will have to have a scan," Flower said. "He didn't make it much worse, he was off soon after he tweaked it. I don't think it's anything too serious, it shouldn't keep him out of the first Test.

"Just from what I've seen, I would imagine he'd be okay for that first Test. But I hope I'm not speaking out of turn there. He's moving around okay ... I don't think it's linked to the Achilles problem [he has had]. His experience is very valuable to us. However, if he's injured and unavailable, Bairstow will step in. He is a very good young cricketer, and will bring his own qualities to the England side."

Joe Root kept wicket in Prior's place, with the reserve gloveman Jonny Bairstow not in the playing eleven. Root kept despite Australia A raising no objections when England requested whether or not Bairstow could substitute for Prior - an agreement that was overruled by the umpires as the game's laws now prohibit it.

"Our reserve wicketkeeper is Jonny Bairstow, but the rules of first-class cricket are quite black-and-white and don't allow a substitute fielder to take the field as wicketkeeper," Flower said. "So Jonny couldn't do it. Root took over, and I thought he did a really good job. He looked a natural.

"He takes on any challenge with a smile on his face, and also no mean skill. It's not an easy thing to do at all, and he handled himself really well out there. I was surprised. But he's a natural ball-player, and I think he had a bit of fun as well."

Bairstow instead batted in the nets and could find himself promoted to play in the final tour match in Sydney - although Flower suggested that England would prefer to field that same top seven intended for Brisbane. Bairstow played in the first four Tests against Australia during the English summer but only made one half-century and has since been a familiar face as 12th man.

As for the loss of more than half the match to rain, Flower said his side had taken as much as they could from the time available, pointing out that most players had some involvement in the game on day four. "There's nothing you can do about bad weather. It's a pity - it is what it is - but I think we made the most of what time we've been allowed in the middle," Flower said. "It was nice to see Cook and Carberry get heavy runs, forming a great partnership on that first day.

"It was a very impressive knock here [from Carberry], as it was in Perth. He left well, and looked very organised and comfortable with his game. Root went on to get an unbeaten 50 or so out there today, and played very positively; then our bowlers had a little run-out, a couple of spells each.

"Swann had his first bowl on tour, so we got what we could out of the game. Whatever happens - even if there are weather problems in Sydney - we will make sure we are ready for that first day in Brisbane."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on November 10, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    @ BiggerAl66 on (November 10, 2013, 13:52 GMT) I think Prior had a poor Ashes both with bat and ball , but I still think he's a huge character for us and up til the Ashes he's probably been our most consistent performer. I'd say that if he (Prior) isn't 100% then Jonny needs to play the next game and see from there. Re the bowlers , I think you're probably in the majority (from those who post on here) on both Onions and Rankin. To me Tremlett is showing a lack of hostility and Finn a lack of control. Rankin hasn't been overly impressive but definitely the best of the 3

  • stuart on November 10, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    I guess this means England will lose 5-0 like the predictions before the last series.Guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.For my money I would move Root down the order and I would call up a reserve keeper.

  • Alan on November 10, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    Not massively concerned about Prior's injury as I think he will make it, and if he doesn't, I am confident Jonny Bairstow will do a good job keeping wicket and coming in at number7. I know I am in a minority, but I would pick Rankin as our third seamer ahead of Tremlett or Finn. I still can't understand why Onions didn't get selected though.

  • richard on November 10, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    @Mary_768 I do owe you an apology as you did not say" fail" you said "unless Clarke Warner smith and Rodgers have blinders and Harris and Johnson take a lot of wickets, Australia will be found wanting". Sorry Mary but to me that is still pretty obvious, not sure what a blinder is but some good old fashion short ball cricket just like last year. the big question is can the opposition bring the game to the table like last year.

  • richard on November 10, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    thanks for the insight Barry, I think your comment is about as obvious as.... if 4 of your batsmen fail and 2 bowlers do not take many wickets the team will struggle .. .SIGH.

  • Cameron on November 10, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    @FFL, I think you'll find AB Devilliers is easily the best wicket keeper batsman in cricket but we wouldn't expect you to put facts in your comments would we. I guess Anderson's sky high average of 30.11 is the stuff of nightmares so you nearly did get that one right. If he doesn't get at least 20 wicket that would be poor, he's the front line bowler and that would only equate to 4 a match. Can't wait to hear the excuses flowing when lose a match.

  • Dummy4 on November 10, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    So mr rickyvincanterbury- if no one scores any runs or take any wickets then both dudes will struggle? Brilliant, never thought of that- sigh

  • Anupam on November 10, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Its really confusing for Root. Where to bat, He played as an Opener in County, No.6 at early career and he goes to his natural position as an opener and now again its rumour that he will bat on no.6. Nick pushed him at no.6 and now Carbs. But IMO Root must open because its also good for future. Carbs is 32 and definitely Root is having more cricket left than him. I also prefer Carbs replaces Trott. Cook, Root, Carbs, Bell, KP,Trott, Bairstow/Prior, Swanny, Jimmy, Broad, Tremlett. I also think that Cook will give blessing in disguise, because after Whitewash CA definitely axe Clarke from captaincy.

  • Graham on November 10, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    Aks286: What are you on about Khawaja has lived in Australia from age 1, he has always been an Aussie. Of course Pakistan didnt give him any chances but they havent given any chances to Michael Clarke either. As for money he has been deserving of an Australian contract as he is a fringe player. Mary786; Yes if all our players fail we will struggle but the same can be said of every country. Fleming_Mitch : You say Khawaja, Marsh and Hughes are all deserving of a full series what makes them more deserving than the players currently in the team? Who are we going to drop to accomodate your policy?

  • Varnendra on November 10, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    Because of Cook and Trott the Ashes projects boredom.