England target unbeaten Australian tour after draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/prior-pak.jpg' class='caption'> Matt Prior said England were aiming to go through their Australian tour unbeaten after the tourists ground out a draw in their 3-day match.

Updated: December 12, 2010 11:37 IST
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Wicketkeeper Matt Prior said England were aiming to go through their Australian tour unbeaten after the tourists ground out a draw in their three-day match with Victoria on Sunday.

Set 311 runs to win on the final day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, England were 211 for six off 54 overs when the match was called off as a draw with an hour of scheduled play remaining.

England shut up shop after tea, scoring only 52 runs in 21 overs with Prior finishing unbeaten on 102 and skipper Andrew Strauss on 22 from 65 balls.

The tourists go into the third Ashes Test starting in Perth on Thursday holding a 1-0 lead in the five-match series and can retain the urn with a win at the WACA Ground.

Four years ago England were thrashed 5-0 on their Australian Ashes tour, but this time they are undefeated in two Tests and four other first-class games as they set their sights on an unbeaten trip Down Under.

Prior made no apologies for England's dour tactics in the closing overs against Victoria, saying the side were keen to protect their unbeaten run.

"Why would you carry on playing your shots and potentially risk losing a game? We didn't want to do that," he said.

"We were hell-bent that we were going to get through the day.

"Unfortunately it was pretty boring cricket for everyone to watch. Sometimes it's got to be done.

"If we carry on playing the brand of cricket we have been, there's certainly no reason why we can't go through unbeaten."

England were reduced to 149 for six before Prior and Strauss restored the innings with an unbeaten 62-run stand.

Clint McKay led the Victorian bowling with 4-68 from 17 overs.

He bowled Test opener Alastair Cook for 10 before the tourists suffered a double blow, losing Paul Collingwood lbw for eight to Jayde Herrick and Steven Davies (18) caught at slip off McKay two balls later.

Eoin Morgan (six) was caught behind off Herrick before Prior and Tim Bresnan (19) added 45 for the fifth wicket.

Bresnan was caught behind off McKay and Ian Bell was the big pace bowler's fourth victim, caught at short cover for 17 shortly before tea.

Fiery quick Herrick was taken out of Victoria's attack after bowling two full tosses above waist-height in consecutive overs in the post-lunch session.

Australia went unbeaten against the West Indies and Pakistan earlier this year but the tables have quickly turned for Ricky Ponting's men, who are win-less in their last five Tests.

Selectors have gambled on uncapped left-arm spinner Michael Beer and recalled out-of-form paceman Mitchell Johnson for their squad of 12 for the third Test, with Doug Bollinger, Marcus North and spinner Xavier Doherty all dumped.

Young opener Phil Hughes returns for the injured Simon Katich.

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