Ashes 2013: England can’t rely on Manchester weather, says Matt Prior

Ashes 2013: Matt Prior warns England that they can't rely on the weather to help the hosts retain the urn at Old Trafford

Matt Prior says England can’t rely on the weather to do them any favours after the hosts edged towards retaining the Ashes courtesy of a rain-affected fourth day of the third Test.

Australia were left frustrated when the day’s play came to an end with the tourists on 172-7 due to rain at Old Trafford, with wet conditions forecast in Manchester on Monday.

Earlier, England, who lead the series 2-0, had narrowly avoided the follow-on by scoring 368 all out, and James Anderson and Tim Bresnan both took a brace of wickets before the umpires intervened.

“Forecasts in England are pretty good at being wrong and it would be very dangerous for us to rely on rain or forecasts going into tomorrow,” said Prior.

“We’ve got to steel ourselves tonight and prepare tomorrow morning as if we are going to play a full day’s Test cricket.”

The England wicket-keeper added: “The one thing about this England team is that we have become tough to beat.

“We’ve been in this position a few times in the recent past. We’ll have a lot of confidence going into tomorrow that we can save the Test.

“It’s a good batting wicket – there is the odd ball that bounces and turns but you’d expect that from a good Test pitch on the fifth day.

“The key will be getting through the new ball. When the ball gets softer it will still spin, but not as quickly, and it becomes harder work for the seamers as well.”

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