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Matt Prior’s difficulties continue Down Under

November 2, 2013

PERTH, Australia (AP) — England wicketkeeper Matt Prior is remaining upbeat despite poor recent form that has continued early in his side’s Ashes tour of Australia.

Prior is under pressure to perform after scoring just 133 runs at an average of 19 during England’s 3-0 home Ashes triumph this year.

Things haven’t started well for Prior, who was dismissed for 4 on a good batting pitch in England’s drawn three-day match against a second-string WACA Chairman’s XI which ended on Saturday.

England has two more warm-up games before the first test against Australia in Brisbane, starting Nov. 21.

Prior, who also dropped a catch in Perth, said he’s not concerned about his recent lack of runs because his net sessions have been excellent.

“If I scored runs in the nets I reckon I would probably have one hundred 100s at the moment,” Prior said. “I’ve been hitting it brilliantly, moving well, and feeling really good. All you can do is keep doing what you have been for however many years and know that it’s going to turn around.”

If Prior should suffer an injury or fall further out of form, Jonny Bairstow is on hand to replace him in the test side.

Fringe pacemen Chris Tremlett, Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn all bowled poorly in Perth, meaning the final spot in England’s three-man seam attack is still available. So is the No. 6 batting position, with Gary Ballance (0) and Ben Stokes (4) failing in their first audition.

Ballance scored twin centuries for county side Yorkshire late last month, and Prior says Ballance remained confident despite his golden duck in Perth.

“It’s no great drama,” Prior said. “There’s a lot of things that come into being an international cricketer. So you can’t just judge a guy on walking to the wicket, nicking one and walking off again.”

Skipper Alastair Cook, batsman Kevin Pietersen, spinner Graeme Swann and paceman Stuart Broad are all set to return for England’s four-day match with Australia A in Hobart starting on Wednesday.

Australia, meanwhile, will await scans on allrounder Shane Watson to determine his availability for the first test after Watson suffered a hamstring injury while bowling during the team’s one-day loss to India on Saturday in Bangalore.

Watson is expected to have the scans once he arrives back in Australia on Monday with the team.

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