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Ashes: England's preparations frustrated by more bad weather in Sydney

Steven Finn forced to practice inside again

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England's preparations for the Ashes were again hampered by the weather as they were forced to practice indoors ahead of their final warm-up match in Sydney.

Alastair Cook's side take on an Australian Invitational XI this week following a rain-ruined draw in Tasmania in which two full days out of four were lost to the weather.

Kevin Pietersen was able to play a full part in the net session after suffering a recurrence of bone bruising in his right knee over the weekend.

"We're well-versed in dealing with the weather, coming from England, so it's not the end of the world."

Steven Finn

The injury sidelined the batsman for three months earlier this year, but he is expected to be passed fit to play at the SCG as he bids to make his 100th Test appearance in the Ashes opener in Brisbane next week.

James Anderson will be rested in Sydney, so Steven Finn appears likely to feature alongside Chris Tremlett, while Boyd Rankin may be given a chance to impress Stuart Broad is also given the week off.

Finn was not selected for last week's rain-wrecked draw against Australia A in Hobart, and he is hoping for an improvement in the weather as he looks to bounce back from disappointing figures of 3-176 in the tour-opening draw in Perth.

Optimistic

"I think I've had two outdoor bowls in the last week or so," said the Middlesex seamer. But we make the best of what we can indoors ... in an ideal world, we'd have practised outside - but not everything is ideal.

Need to deal with Australia pressure

"We're well-versed in dealing with the weather, coming from England, so it's not the end of the world.

"We're not too downhearted about it, and I'm sure - if the weather's nice for these four days - we'll be able to get out there and set our standards high.

"Obviously, if I play this game, I need to give as good an account of myself as I can - so that I can try to put myself in contention for the first Test match.

"Perth wasn't ideal for me; I didn't bowl particularly well. But I thought I got better as the game went on. I've had some good nets since then ... it's just about transferring that into the middle."

Fitness doubts surround Prior

Jonny Bairstow will play as batsman-wicketkeeper in Sydney as Matt Prior continues to undergo treatment on a torn calf muscle which could keep him out of the first Test at The Gabba.

"Obviously, we're still very optimistic that Matt will be fit for the first Test match," added Finn. "But if he's not, Jonny's got a great opportunity in this game to put his hand up.

"He's on this tour as the reserve wicketkeeper for a reason - because he's very good at it. We saw him batting at number six, and he showed glimpses in the summer of being an excellent Test match batsman."

England (v Australia Invitational XI in Sydney, from): AN Cook (Captain), MA Carberry, IJL Trott, IR Bell, KP Pietersen, JE Root, JM Bairstow (wkt), SCJ Broad, GP Swann, ST Finn, CT Tremlett, WB Rankin.

Stay up or catch up - watch England's defence of the Ashes in Australia this winter ONLY on Sky Sports.

Who will win the first Ashes Test of the 2013/14 series

  • England
  • Australia
  • Draw