Ashes 2013: Matt Prior on England's turn to bully Australia

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport
England need to bully Australia to win Ashes - Matt Prior

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has called on his team to emulate Australia by becoming "the bullies" in this year's back-to-back Ashes series.

Australia won eight Ashes series in a row between 1989 and 2003, but England have won three of the last four.

"I remember watching Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and Glenn McGrath, and the way they walked around and bullied England," Prior told BBC Sport.

"Maybe it's our time to do a bit of bullying ourselves."

England will be looking to defend the Ashes urn over five Tests in England in July and August before heading to Australia for the return series in November, December and January.

If they win both, they will be the first England side since 1890 to win four Ashes series in a row, cementing their current position of supremacy in cricket's oldest rivalry.

Having grown up in an era of Aussie dominance, Prior believes it is time to redress the balance.

"If we prepare and perform as we want to, there's no reason why we shouldn't dominate Australia in these two Ashes series," added the Sussex right-hander, who played every Test in England's Ashes victories in 2009 and 2010-11.

"You look at our dressing room and the skills we have in our team - batters, bowlers, the spin department, it's all there.

"But Ashes series are strange - there is no such thing as a weak Australian Test side and we will have to be on our game to do it."

Prior's confidence is bolstered by the relative inexperience of the team Australia will be bringing to England this summer.

Following the retirements of veteran batsmen Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, Australia's current Test squad features only five players who have played Ashes Tests in England.

And while the 17 squad members for their ongoing India tour have 58 Ashes Tests between them, England's 15-man party for the New Zealand Tests in March have played a combined 106 Ashes Tests.

"It's going to be a different Australia side," added Prior. "Players like Ponting and Hussey can't be replaced overnight and I know our guys will be relieved they don't have to bowl at them again.

"But as one steps out, it leaves the door open for someone else. The game moves forward and we are going to have to prepare very well against whichever team plays, because they will all be wanting to do well and prove a point."

During their dominant years, Australia routinely targeted England's less experienced players through sledging - a tactic termed "mental disintegration" by former Australia captain Steve Waugh.

According to Prior, England have devised more subtle ways to make their greater experience tell in the heat of battle.

"There's more to it than the odd sledge here and there," he said. "There are other ways of letting guys know they are under pressure or it's a big occasion.

"There are ways of creating an intensity out on the pitch, like the way we hustle around, the way our bowlers put the ball in the right area all day long, not just for an hour or two, but all day.

"Then you have our fielders stopping singles that potentially could have been a four.

"When you come out to bat there's nothing better than crunching a couple of cover drives to get you off and running. But if you suddenly have cover point diving and stopping it, it does get to you."