Sydney: Jan 2, 2014
Captain Alastair Cook said Jonny Bairstow will continue behind the stumps for England in the final Ashes 2013-14 Test starting at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Friday despite support for the experienced Matt Prior from rival skipper Michael Clarke.
Prior was dropped for Bairstow for the fourth Test in Melbourne after an indifferent series but his understudy gave a mixed performance, dropping a catch and failing to respond to a snick from Chris Rogers when he was on 19, with the opener going on to score a century.
Clarke said Prior’s vast experience was needed by England as they seek to deny Australia a 5-0 whitewash in Sydney, but Cook said Bairstow would get another chance as wicketkeeper.
“I think Jonny deserves another chance. It’s very difficult to come in for one Test match,” Cook said on Thursday. “We know he’s a very talented cricketer, he’s got another opportunity in this Test match to show that.”
Australian captain Clarke said England missed the big-match experience of Prior, who has 75 Test caps.
“I would be surprised if Matt Prior doesn’t get recalled back into their team. Being a senior player with the amount of experience he has, I think they’ve certainly missed that,” Clarke said at his media conference on the eve of the Test.
“He’s been an important player for England over a long period of time. I think you can see the benefit of [wicketkeeper] Brad Haddin in our team, just with his experience,” he added.
But while Prior has an impressive Test batting average of more than 40, Cook said he did not deserve to be in the England team on form.
“He’s still a fantastic cricketer, he’s 31. He’s still got a lot of Test cricket available to him if he wants it,” the England captain said.
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