Prior backing for Bell

Thu, 22 Mar 14:56:54 2012

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior expects the out-of-sorts Ian Bell to deliver when England start their Test series against Sri Lanka next week.

Bell was the only frontline batsman to miss out in England's four-wicket victory over a Development XI, with knocks of 14 and 11 continuing a dreadful run of form since the turn of the year.

Prior, though, expects the Warwickshire man to be a big asset in Galle and said: "You see this kind of thing happen time and time again. It's amazing how quickly things turn around."

He added: "I can tell you Ian Bell is hitting the ball amazingly. He's full of confidence going in to the Test match.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he just went and smashed a hundred in the Test because he's getting his bad luck out of the way now."

Ravi Bopara, meanwhile, saw his chances of Test selection plummet when it was confirmed he is suffering from a side strain and is unlikely to be fit to bowl in the series.

Fellow all-rounder Samit Patel scored 72 to press his claims, while Tim Bresnan offers a more conventional fifth bowling option.

"I don't know how much effect the injury will have on selection but it is important to get the balance right," said Prior.

"We're very fortunate we have some good all-round cricketers but we have to get the balance of the team right first and then see which players fit into that."


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