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Prior aims to awaken England

NatWest Series

Tim Paine & Matt Prior

Matt Prior shows his resourceful side with the bat during his innings of 29 in the fourth match of the NatWest Series

Matt Prior will forego any thoughts of resting up in a bid to inject some life into England's one-day displays.

Several players have been rested since England's focus turned from Test to limited-overs cricket, and wicketkeeper Prior is the only man to have featured in every international since the start of the Ashes in early July.

But the 27-year-old is intent on fighting the fatigue and finding form in a bid to turn around his side's fortunes in the final three matches of the NatWest Series.

England were comfortably beaten by Australia at Lord's yesterday, the seven-wicket result handing the tourists an unassailable 4-0 advantage, but there is no respite, with the Champions Trophy in South Africa beginning in 10 days.

But Prior insisted: “Things turn around very quickly. We've only had four one-day games. Before that we'd just won the Ashes, everything was going mental and we were the best side ever.

"There are disappointed guys in the changing room at the minute but we're working very hard and these next three games are very, very important because one-day cricket is about momentum, not only a team momentum to get that winning habit, but also for individuals."

Prior is part of a batting unit that has managed just four half-centuries in five one-day internationals since the Ashes, a period in which they have scored more than 228 only once.

Addressing those statistics, however, is what has encouraged Prior to shelve thoughts of a mini-break; he has already opted to miss the Twenty20 Champions League with Sussex next month to enjoy some rare downtime with the family.

"I want to find my momentum in one-day cricket going into the Champions Trophy,” he said.

"I want to be a player who changes things round and plays a match-winning innings for England, if not a couple. And you can't do that on the sidelines.

"Yes, I am a bit tired - I'm not going to lie. It's been a long, intense summer. But that is the schedule. Everyone has the same schedule - that's international cricket and you get on with it.

Matt Prior, Nathan Hauritz, Tim Paine & Brett Lee

Prior becomes the first of four England batsmen to succumb to Brett Lee's yorker. "Bowlers are allowed to bowl well," he said

"You go in every morning, run around and get your legs loose, and have 10 minutes of feeling a bit stiff and then get into the day, out in the middle and you look around and there are 30,000 there, you're playing at Lord's and the sun's shining, and you're not that tired any more, and that's the mentality you have to have."

Prior hit 29 from 45 balls in the fourth match before becoming the second of Brett Lee's five victims, yorked by the first ball of a new spell from the Nursery end.

Although Lee was in scintillating form with the old ball in hand, Prior’s innings was typical of England's efforts in the series.

Indeed, it was the 16th score between 25 and 63, highlighting the home batsmen's failure to mould match-winning innings.

"Bowlers are allowed to bowl well. They're allowed to bowl good balls and your batters are going to get out to good balls," said Prior.

"But the disappointing thing is how many bad balls we've got out to. Or run-outs. Or silly things like that.

"The amount of times where we've built a good partnership - a 50 partnership, a 60 partnership - and then, right at that pivotal moment, we'll get run out, or chip one in the air, when we really want to kick on and get those 100 partnerships, 120 partnerships, to really kill the game, is not lost on the guys.

"But it's not a million miles away from clicking, although it might look like that. That's the thing I know in the back of my mind."

Prior rued England’s failure to win the first two matches of the series, when they threw away promising positions chashing 261 and 250 respectively for victory.

"In one-day cricket - in any cricket - if you're in a position to win you have to win that game," he said. "Because right now, potentially, it really should be 2-2 in this series.

"The first two games I genuinely believe we should have won. And we threw that away through poor batting."

England, who were beaten with 6.2 overs to spare yesterday, face day-night matches at Trent Bridge on Tuesday and Thursday, while the series concludes at the Riverside next Sunday.

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