First-choice wicketkeeper in a race against time to be fit for first Test.
Wicketkeeper Matt Prior was Monday ruled out of England’s final Ashes warm-up match in Sydney with a calf muscle injury, opening the door for Jonny Bairstow.
Prior felt tightness in his calf when attempting a quick single while batting on the final day of England’s rain-affected match against Australia A in Hobart on Saturday and the England Cricket Board said he would be rested.
“Matt Prior ruled out of final warm-up match at Sydney after a scan revealed a low grade tear in his calf,” the ECB said on Twitter.
“He will continue his rehabilitation and recovery with a view to being available for the first Test,” it added in a second tweet.
The opening Ashes Test takes place at Brisbane’s Gabba ground from November 21 with Bairstow replacing Prior in the four-day fixture against an Australian Invitational XI at the Sydney Cricket Ground from Wednesday.
“It’s great for Jonny Bairstow to get this opportunity, you never know what can happen on long tours” tweeted batsman Ian Bell, adding to reporters that he was confident Prior would be fit for the first Test.
“Matt has been a key part of our success over the last few years and obviously we want him to get recovered as quick as possible,” Bell said.
“There’s still a bit of time (before the Test). Matt’s got himself in fantastic condition for this tour and he’ll be very good with his rehab so I’ve got every faith he’ll be fully fit for Brisbane.”
Prior is one of two injury concerns for England, with Kevin Pietersen receiving a cortisone injection in his knee following the Hobart match although the star batsman told reporters on Sunday that he was “as good as gold”.