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Ashes: The Gabba holds no fear for England captain Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook: England captain has no fear about playing at the Gabba

England captain Alastair Cook has set his sights on ending Australia's impressive record at the Gabba.

Australia have not lost at the Brisbane ground for 25 years - while England last tasted victory there in 1986.

However Cook insists that the current squad will go into the series opener with no fear as they look to inflict a psychological blow on their hosts.

"There's no reason to feel intimidated," said Cook.

"A lot of players in the squad we have this year were here in 2010-11 so we've all got experience of winning in Australia and we're trying to use that to the best of our ability.

"We know how important this game was last time for setting up the series.

"Australia have a very good record in Brisbane, it's our job to try and change that."

England's hopes of getting the series off to a winning start could be hampered the fact doubts remain over Matt Prior's participation in the first Test.

Prior underwent his fitness and practice drills for a second successive day, without apparent ill-effect from the torn calf he suffered in Hobart two weeks ago.

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Cook, though, has been unable to offer any assurances that the wicketkeeper will definitely be available for day one of the tourists' bid for a fourth successive Ashes series win.


Speaking shortly before Prior went through an hour-long session, first in the nets and then out on the pitch taking catches, Cook said: "He has the last part of his fitness test to go, came through all we asked of him yesterday and trained really well.

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"With these leg injuries, it's normally how they pull up the next day."

England are optimistic they will be able to finalise in their own minds whether they can risk Prior or turn to his deputy Jonny Bairstow on this high-profile stage.

But it would be a departure from their established protocol if they circulated that information before match day.

"When you're getting close to fitness, how you pull up after a strenuous session gives a really good indication," added Cook.

"We'll know pretty soon. We'll know today.

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"Some people always pull up badly in the morning, but we should know today."

Among the other England players sure to attract plenty of attention on his entrance to the fray is Stuart Broad.


This will be Kevin Pietersen's 100th Test, yet Broad arguably will loom equally large in the minds of the home crowds after his at times controversial part in England's 3-0 Ashes victory at home last summer.

Much has already been made of the treatment he can expect here, and the consensus appears to be that England's match-winning seamer will lap it up.

Cook said: "He's a very combative character.

"He's an 'in-yer-face' kind of cricketer, and I like that about him."

It was Broad's spell at Chester-le-Street - he finished with 11 wickets in the match - that broke Australia's resistance and took England into an unassailable series lead in August.

Cook added: "You set him a challenge - you saw at Durham when hadn't bowled very well, the challenge was set in the dressing room at tea.

"We said 'we need to take this game by the scruff of the neck if we want to win it' - and he stood up and delivered.

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"He's done that a number of times for England, magic spells of bowling."

The extra unresolved question over England selection is the identity of the third seamer to support Broad and James Anderson at this ground where Australia have not lost a Test for 25 years.

Chris Tremlett remains the front-runner, ahead of Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin.

The opening Ashes Test gets under way on Sky Sports 2 HD from 11pm on Wednesday