Matt Prior will have to pass a tough fitness test on Tuesday to prove his fitness for the first Test in Brisbane.
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior will have to get through a rigorous training session in Brisbane on Tuesday to be passed fit for the first Test.
The tourists are prepared to give their star gloveman up until the 11th hour to prove he’s shaken off a low grade calf strain, but medical staff should have a fair idea two days out from the game whether he can withstand five days of Test cricket.
England will gradually increase his workload, peaking with a session 48 hours out from Thursday’s start at the Gabba.
If he struggles, Prior could be ruled out immediately, but if he gets through it will be a matter of seeing how he pulls up on the Wednesday and then on matchday.
No.2 keeper Jonny Bairstow is on standby should key man Prior run out of time.
Prior has been treating his calf around the clock since straining it in Hobart last week and the injury has stabilised, with no further setbacks.
The 31-year-old completed a half-hour session at the SCG nets on Friday, working on his lateral movement, getting forward and back and side to side.
Prior then went for a session in the gym and has been spending plenty of time in the pool.
The veteran of three successive Ashes triumphs, has been posting photos on Twitter of him undergoing acupuncture and icing his calf for extended periods.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan has said Bairstow’s keeping ability would be a major worry should Prior miss the first Test.
But Bairstow’s ex-teammate at Yorkshire, former Test opener Phil Jaques, said the 24-year-old has looked in good nick keeping wicket in the Sydney tour game.
“I think at times last year he was the victim of being on the tour a lot, not keeping as much as what he could do. He was obviously playing as a batsman (in the Test team) so he was working at his batting a lot,” Jaques said.
“When he came back to Yorkshire there was a little bit of rustiness sometimes in his keeping but from what I’ve seen in the tour match here, he’s been very silky.
“You can tell he’s been doing the work and I don’t think he’ll let England down at all.”