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Ashes: England aim for unbeaten tour of Australia

Third Ashes Test: Australia v England
Venue: Perth Dates: 16-20 December Start time: 0230 GMT
Coverage: Listen live on Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW, 5 live sports extra and online; live highlights (UK only) and day's review on the TMS podcast; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles; live on Sky Sports 1

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Prior reveals motivation struggle

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior says the team are focused on going through their tour of Australia without losing a match.

Prior hit an undefeated 102 as England drew their tour match with Victoria.

And afterwards he said: "If we carry on playing the brand of cricket we have been there's no reason why we can't go through the tour unbeaten.

"If we can manage to do that, it would be a fantastic feat - but something we're certainly targeting."

England are currently 1-0 up after two Tests of their Ashes series and have defeated Western Australia and Australia A in addition to draws against South Australia and Victoria.

If we carry on playing the brand of cricket we have been, there's certainly no reason why we can't go through [the tour] unbeaten

England centurion Matt Prior

But the touring team were indebted to Prior's century as they avoided defeat during an awkward rain-affected third and final day against Victoria at the MCG.

England had been set 311 to win but slumped to 55-4 and then 149-6 before Prior steadied the ship.

Prior had batted only twice during the opening two Ashes Tests, falling first ball in Brisbane as Peter Siddle claimed a hat-trick and hitting an unbeaten 27 in Adelaide.

"For me personally, [the century] was perfect preparation for next week," said Prior ahead of the third Ashes Test, which starts in Perth on Thursday.

"You have the huge crowds in the Ashes Test - adrenaline is going and it doesn't take a lot for you to be very up for it.

"To come into this game, you have to do a bit of soul-searching, and get yourself going. You can't rely on anyone else, or the crowds or anything.

"I think this week has actually been pretty good for us, to go from the elation of wining the Adelaide Test match to this game - which has been quite hard, attritional - made it a tough three days."

Prior was struck on the hip by a full toss from Jayde Herrick, who was eventually ordered out of the attack by the umpires for dangerous bowling after two more wild deliveries.

"One clattered me quite handily in the hip - which was a bad moment," added Prior.

"But I think he just got a couple wrong. No one means to bowl them - it's just unfortunate. He apologised straight away."

606: DEBATE

The match was an opportunity for bowlers Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad to stake a claim to replace the injured Stuart Broad in Perth.

The Waca pitch is traditionally hard and bouncy but the track at the MCG was slow and stodgy - and of the trio only Bresnan claimed a wicket in the match.

Bresnan, Tremlett and Shahzad, who bowled 78 overs between them in the match, toiled unsuccessfully during the second day, but Prior defended their performance.

"This was not an easy wicket to get batsmen out," added Prior, who will return to wicketkeeping duties in Perth after Steven Davies deputised against Victoria.

"I don't think any bowler was going to charge in and take a whole load. I thought all three of them bowled beautifully, didn't let the batters score at a rate. They all did a very, very good job on a wicket that wasn't helpful at all.

"They've all put their hands up, and I'm sure whoever gets selected will do a great job."



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see also
Prior ton salvages England draw
12 Dec 10 |  England
England seamers fail to make mark
11 Dec 10 |  England
Victoria make England toil at MCG
10 Dec 10 |  England
Anderson returns to see new baby
10 Dec 10 |  England
England announce T20 & ODI squad
10 Dec 10 |  England
Australia ring changes for Perth
10 Dec 10 |  England
Flower ponders Broad replacement
08 Dec 10 |  England
Strauss confident of series win
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England complete Adelaide triumph
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Katich set to miss rest of series
07 Dec 10 |  Australia
Injured Broad ruled out of Ashes
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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