England can 'bully' Australia during the Ashes, says Matt Prior

England have dominated in recent years

Wicketkeeper Matthew Prior has warned Australia that England are ready to “bully” them in this year's back-to-back Ashes series.

Alastair Cook's side will bid to become the first England team in 123 years to win four consecutive Ashes urns and re-assert themselves as the dominant force in cricket's oldest rivalry.

After growing up in an era when the likes of Shane Warne and Steve Waugh carried Australia to eight consecutive series wins Prior believes the boot is now on the other foot.

"I remember watching Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and Glenn McGrath, and the way they walked around and bullied England," Prior told BBC Sport.

"Maybe it's our time to do a bit of bullying ourselves.

"If we prepare and perform as we want to, there's no reason why we shouldn't dominate Australia in these two Ashes series.

"You look at our dressing room and the skills we have in our team - batters, bowlers, the spin department, it's all there.

"But Ashes series are strange - there is no such thing as a weak Australian Test side and we will have to be on our game to do it."

Australia are set to bring an inexperienced team to England this summer following the retirements of former skipper Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.

Of Australia's current 17-man Test squad in India only eight have Ashes experience.

Australian teams of the past revelled in grinding down England's novices with bat, ball and the odd choice word. Prior admits England will look to do the same.

"There's more to it than the odd sledge here and there," he said.

"There are other ways of letting guys know they are under pressure or it's a big occasion.

"There are ways of creating an intensity out on the pitch, like the way we hustle around, the way our bowlers put the ball in the right area all day long."

Despite Australia's inexperience Prior is wary of a team that held their own against the top-ranked South Africa before whitewashing Sri Lanka during the recent summer Down Under.

"It's going to be a different Australia side," he said.

"Players like Ponting and Hussey can't be replaced overnight and I know our guys will be relieved they don't have to bowl at them again.

"But as one steps out, it leaves the door open for someone else. The game moves forward and we are going to have to prepare very well against whichever team plays, because they will all be wanting to do well and prove a point."

PA

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