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Prior dropped as England toil
10:26am Thursday 26th December 2013 in Sport
England, without the axed Matt Prior, lost three late wickets as they closed the first day of the fourth Test on 226-6.
Sussex wicketkeeper/batsman Prior was replaced in the team by Jonny Bairstow with the series already lost following three straight defeats.
Former Sussex spinner Monty Panesar came in for the retired Graeme Swann as the other change to the side.
In front of a new world record crowd for a Test match of 91,092, England's top five batsmen all made starts but only Kevin Pietersen pushed on past 50 as Mitchell Johnson's pace and Ryan Harris's relentless precision once again proved critical.
Pietersen, dropped on both seven and 41, clung on to end the day 67 not out and keep alive slim English hopes of a competitive total.
Johnson finished with 2-59 and Harris 2-32 from 20 overs on a day when England were first pegged down by accuracy and then blown away by aggression just as they were in heavy defeat in the first three Tests.
With the second new ball still only ten overs old, Australia will believe they can polish off the England tail rapidly on Friday morning and then prosper on a pitch containing few real terrors.
Michael Carberry was out for 38, Ian Bell and Alastair Cook 27 apiece and Joe Root 24.