The Ashes: Prior’s plight exemplifies England’s travails Down Under

Reuters| Last Updated: Dec 15, 2013, 20:05 PM IST

PERTH: Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin is having an Ashes series to remember but the contrasting fortunes of his opposite number Matt Prior were as glaring as the Perth sunshine on day three of the third test on Sunday.

Prior is enduring what can be politely described as a torrid time in the two Ashes series against Australia this year. His batting average over the eight tests is under 20, well below his overall average which is hovering over 40.

On Sunday at the WACA he suffered probably his worst six hours on a cricket field since he was dropped following a problematic tour of Sri Lanka six years ago.

His day began in ignominious fashion when he was out for a turgid eight, under-edging a ball to Haddin trying an injudicious pull shot.

A major cog in England`s demolition of Australia on the 2010-11 Ashes tour, he is now a significant part of the all too familiar batting collapses.

The latest collapse saw England lose their last six wickets for 61 runs and concede a first-innings deficit of 134 runs, which Australia pushed out to a lead of 369 by the close of play.

"We obviously haven`t played the cricket we want to play, Australia have been fantastic, they`ve been aggressive and changed their fortunes around from the English summer," said Prior`s team mate Stuart Broad, whose injury was yet another blow to the tourists on Sunday.

"We obviously played some brilliant cricket six months ago. We created a lot of pressure with the ball and got enough runs to survive.

"Whereas this time around we`ve obviously lost three big tosses but haven`t been able to apply the pressure when we`ve needed to and Australia have been attacking enough to take the game away from us."

Needing quick Australian wickets on Sunday, Prior spurned a golden opportunity to make early inroads when he missed the simplest of stumping chances with David Warner on 13.

He also missed stumping Warner again when the belligerent batsmen was on 89 and conceded eight byes through his legs.

Warner was finally out for 112.

He was one half of a guilty party when England captain Alastair Cook dropped Warner`s opening partner Chris Rogers at first slip. Rogers went on to make 54.

They say catches win matches and England have spilled far too many already in the three matches so far.

To compound Prior`s day he was part of a triumvirate that decided to challenge a not out decision against Shane Watson.