The Ashes: Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior doubtful for First Test

Injury may prevent both players facing Australia in Brisbane in 11 days' time

hobart

England's quest to retain the Ashes was severely disrupted yesterday by injuries to Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior. The extent of the damage in both cases is yet to be determined but the tourists will be concerned that one or both will miss the opening Test in Brisbane in 11 days' time.

Pietersen is again suffering pain in his right knee, which forced him to miss three Test matches earlier this year. Although Andy Flower, the England coach, is confident he will recover, Pietersen was due to fly to Melbourne today for a scan and cortisone injection instead of travelling to Sydney with the squad after their week in Hobart.

Also worrying for the England camp is the tight calf which kept Prior off the field on the final day of the tour match against Australia A yesterday. He felt discomfort while batting and although he played on, Joe Root assumed the wicketkeeping duties for the 31 overs that the home side batted in the rain-ruined game.

Both would be considerable losses for England at any time but they would be more keenly felt at the start at The Gabba where Australia have not lost for 24 years. England's batting has not been so assured lately that they can easily replace Pietersen.

Prior has played 57 successive Tests since 2009 and is part of the England furniture. While he had a lean summer with the bat by his standards, he is integral to everything the team do in the field and he is the vice-captain.

It is less than a year since Pietersen first complained of severe soreness in his knee in New Zealand. At the time it was not thought to be serious but eventually he flew home from that tour and was then absent at the start of the English season.

That experience at least heralds the possibility that the present optimism may be misplaced. Flower said: "I don't think it's going to be a huge issue. He's had a couple of these injections before and they have been very successful and quietened the problem down.

"It's obviously an ongoing issue for him but we anticipate this one being successful and him playing a full part in the Ashes tour."

Flower must feel at present that everything that can go wrong is doing so. Alastair Cook, the captain, missed the first tour match because of a stiff back and the second game was wrecked by rain with two full days being lost.

The weather relented sufficiently for 66 overs to be possible on the final day of the match yesterday, which at least allowed Pietersen, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann to have their first cricket of the winter. But Prior's absence immediately brought forth dark clouds of a different kind.

"His experience is very valuable to us," said Flower. "However, if he is injured and unavailable, Jonny Bairstow will step up. Bairstow is a very good young cricketer and will bring his own qualities to the England side.

"If that happens, he could be man of the match in Brisbane. None of us know exactly what is going to happen."

England batted on briefly yesterday, taking their score to 430 for 7 with Root hitting an assured, unbeaten fifty against better bowling. Jimmy Anderson took two wickets as Australia A finished on 118 for 3, while Chris Tremlett, encouragingly for the tourists, put in an improved performance.

 

News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
sport
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor