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Defiant Prior issues rallying cry

Matt Prior was in bullish mood when he spoke to the media ahead of the Perth Test

England still believe “100%” they can win the Ashes from 2-0 down, and are planning to start the series all over again in Perth.

Matt Prior issued a stirring battle cry at the WACA today, insisting Alastair Cook's tourists have the mettle to make history as only the second team - Australia managed it in 1936-37 - to recover from defeats in the first two Tests and win the urn after all.

Prior cites "brutal honesty" and a readiness to learn from mistakes as the methods by which England can win in Perth for only the second time, and first in 35 years.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, back to form with a half-century in the 218-run defeat in Adelaide on Monday, has no doubt about the tourists’ ability to defy the odds.

Asked if they can still win the Ashes this winter, he said: “Absolutely, 100%.

“One thing I do know about this cricket team is that when we get to this place we come out fighting. You have no option.”

Cook’s England will not seek excuses but, according to Prior, instead identify where they have gone wrong and put it right.

“You can sit there and sulk, moan, whinge and make excuses - but you will just get beaten,” he added. “You have to get rid of all that, and fight.

“People have written us off; we’re at Perth; we haven’t won here for however many years. But quite frankly that excites me. Records are there to be broken. There is a huge amount of hunger in this dressing room to turn this around.”

England’s straight-talking is done, and the preparation has also begun for their sternest test since Cook took over the captaincy last year.

They will put this winter’s false start behind them, having confronted their demons in Adelaide - where, for the second match running, Mitchell Johnson prospered with his extreme pace.

“It started the moment we walked off the pitch at Adelaide,” added Prior. “We know we’ve got to turn things round and do it quickly here in Perth.

“We have to start this Test series again with a clean slate and come here firing on all cylinders, and get a result. This isn’t the time for mincing words, ‘positive this and positive that’."

Home truths are England’s currency for belated success Down Under.

"Sometimes you have to look at yourself straight in the mirror and know where you’re at,” said Prior.

“If you don’t do that you will do the same things and get the same results, and we can’t afford to do that.

“We have experience in the dressing room and guys who have had quite a lot of ups and a few downs as well, and we have to learn from all of those mistakes.

“The one thing you do learn is that if you carry on doing what you always did you get what you always got. This is a time for brutal honesty and ‘fronting up’.”

The most obvious challenge will be against Johnson again, at a venue he knows well and where he can expect conditions to be tailor-made.

The man himself is not in the mood to let up either, having taken 17 wickets so far in the series.

He will be back for more, ready to unleash his bouncers and verbals at anyone in his way.

“That’s fast bowling, isn’t it?” asked Johnson. “Throughout history, it’s all about intimidating.

“If you can bowl a ball at someone’s grille, I don’t care who you are, you’re going to feel intimidated - and especially on a wicket like Perth.

“I like the idea that being a fast bowler – you can be aggressive and intimidate.”

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