England wicketkeeper Matt Prior hopeful of being fit for first Ashes Test in Brisbane
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior remains hopeful of being fit for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane next week.
Last Updated: 15/11/13 3:05pm
The England wicketkeeper is currently receieving treatment for a calf injury suffered against Australia A last week that has forced him to miss the final warm-up game against a Cricket Australia Invitational XI in Sydney.
Jonny Bairstow has taken the gloves in the Sussex man's absence at the SCG, but it would be a major blow for England should Prior fail to recover for The Gabba having played in 57 consecutive Test matches.
However, the 31-year-old told an online Q&A session: "Rehab on the injury is going well and it's improving every day. I was even allowed to leave the trusty ice machine to hit some balls in the nets today!!! Signs are good so fingers well and truly crossed."
Bairstow, who took three catches in the first innings in Sydney before sharing a stand of 106 with Joe Root, says he is ready to step in if needed.
"It is exciting. I am pleased with the way I have kept wicket over the last couple of days and it is good to get the miles in the legs," he told Sky Sports.
"There's nothing like keeping for a full day, you can do as much fitness as you like but keeping in this heat and getting used to the conditions out here is important.
"The preparation that I have been working with Bruce on and the technical side of things, it is every day process, so if that opportunity does come along I don't see any reason why I can't take it. But at the end of the day we are all hoping that Matt is going to be fit.
"The medical team are keeping things close to their chests but Matt seems fine and is as chirpy as ever."
Bairstow gave a timely reminder of his abilities with the bat with a well-worked 48.
"Personally it was really good to spend some time out at the middle," he added.
"It wasn't easy coming off for the rain and intervals but overall it was pleasing to get out there and hit the ball in the middle of the bat.
"The main thing is spending the time out there. It is good to be out there in a match situation, putting scores on the board that have hopefully put us in a strong position."
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