Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Prior wants winning England start

Tour match: Western Australia v England
Venue: The Waca, Perth Date: 5-7 November Start time: 0230 GMT
Coverage: Score updates and reports on BBC Sport website

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior
Prior has stressed that England want a winning start in Perth

England's players can stake an early claim for a place in the Ashes XI on Friday when they face Western Australia in a three-day tour match in Perth.

The squad landed in Perth on Saturday and have been training since then.

Although the results of the three warm-up games will have little consequence, England are aware of the importance of setting the tone for the Ashes series.

"Winning is a habit and the quicker you can get into that habit the better," said wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

"First and foremost, we want to win the game. It's dangerous to go down the line of a warm-up or practice match.

"It is a first-class game, and we'll take it very seriously."

On England's last visit to Australia in 2006/07, they were hammered by 166 runs in a one-day match against a Prime Minister's XI in Canberra, before drawing a three-day 14-a-side match with New South Wales, and drawing against South Australia in their only first-class game before the first Test.

However, this time around the tourists have three first-class matches - with South Australia and Australia A still to come - before the first Test begins in Brisbane on 25 November.


Prior is also aware of the crucial role he will play at number seven in the Test side as with England expected to field six specialist batsmen and only four bowlers, the Sussex keeper is likely to find himself batting with the tail-enders.

"It's going to be a very important role in that late middle order, and we're going to have to knuckle down and get some runs this tour," he added.

"I'm thoroughly looking forward to that and the potential responsibility of maybe batting with a few of the guys down the order. That is a challenge in itself and one I really enjoy."

Western Australia will be led by Test batsman Marcus North, who is not 100% certain of his own place in the Test team but enhanced his chances with a century in the second Test against India last month to end a run of low scores.

They are without Mike Hussey, Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Johnson who are in Australia's one-day squad for the current one-day international series against Sri Lanka.

However, the 12-man squad includes Adam Voges, Luke Pomersbach and Luke Ronchi, who have all played one-day internationals or Twenty20 internationals for the full Australia side, while Steve Magoffin has experience of English county cricket.

England's only injury doubt is over spinner Graeme Swann, who was struck on the thumb by a delivery from Tim Bresnan in the nets on Monday, but the injury is not thought to be serious.

Western Australia (from): Marcus North (capt), Michael Beer, Liam Davis, Ryan Duffield, Michael Hogan, Steve Magoffin, Mitchell Marsh, Luke Pomersbach, Wes Robinson, Luke Ronchi (wk), Michael Swart, Adam Voges.

England (from): Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wk), Steven Davies (wk), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett, Monty Panesar.

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