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Axed Prior vows to return

Dropped England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has admitted his axeing was deserved but has vowed to return to the side.

After struggling for form with the bat, the 32-year-old was left out of the side for the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne for the first time in the Andy Flower era.

He was replaced by Jonny Bairstow and it remains to be seen whether the Sussex man - who has seven Test hundreds to his name - will return.

Prior certainly hopes to add to his 75 caps and 3,920 runs but knows he has not been up to the mark over the past year.

"Disappointed to miss this test match but my form just hasn't been good enough. I'll be working hard as ever to make sure I'm back and performing at the level I expect of myself so I can contribute to the team effort once again," he said on Twitter.

"In the mean time I'll be doing my best to help in any small way I can so we can go home with some success and positives from this tour. Thanks to all those for continued support through tough, as well as the good, times!"

Bairstow, a bit-part player for England over the last two years, made just 10 before falling to Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson.

While expected, Prior's absence adds further change to a previously stable England dressing room. Jonathan Trott has already flown home and this week Graeme Swann retired.

"He's a world-class player, and has been a great one for us - the real heartbeat of the side, for a long time," batsman Ian Bell said of Prior.