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Prior facing Ashes axe for Boxing Day

By AAP .
18 December 2013 05:59PM EST

WITH the Ashes already lost, England wicketkeeper Matt Prior faces a fight to keep his spot for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Prior has been in poor form over the first three Tests, scoring just 107 runs at an average of 17.83.

His glovework has also been disappointing at times.

In the third Test at the WACA, Prior fumbled a stumping chance that would have dismissed David Warner for 13.

Warner went on to make 112 in a knock that played a crucial part in Australia's 150-run victory, which lifted the home side to a 3-0 lead in the series.

England coach Andy Flower said he would contemplate replacing Prior with 24-year-old wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who has averaged 30.2 from 12 Tests.

"It's a possibility of course," Flower told reporters in Perth.

"Matt Prior has been an outstanding cricketer for England during a second phase of his English career.

"But like all those positions we have to review them.

"We constantly review what our best side will be and we also have to have an eye to the future as well.

"So we'll meet over the next couple of days and start getting some clarity on those decisions."

Spinner Graeme Swann is also under the pump after taking just seven wickets in three Tests.

However, with out-of-form spinner Monty Panesar the only like-for-like replacement, Swann might hold his spot by default.

It's not just England's players feeling the heat, with Flower's position now also under the spotlight.

Flower, who only a few months ago led his side to a 3-0 Ashes victory in England, wouldn't be drawn on his own future.

But he did accept blame for England's failed tour.

"Absolutely it's my responsibility so I'm quite comfortable taking that on," Flower said.

"I think without a doubt I have to look at how we prepared and the decisions we made, and certainly that I've made.

"Learning from our mistakes is very much a part of our ethos of constant improvement and we need to improve quite quickly."

Flower denied the tour could potentially kill off the careers of some players.

"We are going through a tough period as a side now and a number of those individuals you've mentioned are going through tough periods in their careers," Flower said.

"It doesn't mean their careers are over.

"But it does mean they need to call on that experience to help them get out of a tough time quicker than other people."

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