Sydney: Wicketkeeper Matt Prior has been ruled out of England's final Ashes tour match this week against a Cricket Australia Invitational XI with a calf injury.
Medical scans on Monday revealed Prior suffered a low-grade tear to his calf muscle during last week's tour match against Australia A in Hobart. He will be replaced by Jonny Bairstow for the four-day match starting Wednesday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
England batsman Ian Bell said he is confident Prior will be fit for the opening Test of the five match Ashes series starting Nov. 21 in Brisbane.
"Matt has been a key part of our success over the last few years and obviously we want him to get recovered as quick as possible," Bell said. "There's still a bit of time (before the first Test)."
Earlier on Monday, Australia Test batsmen Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja were released from the Invitational XI. Cricket Australia said Callum Ferguson had been added to the invitational lineup due to his lack of opportunities to bat for Australia A in Hobart's rain-reduced tour match.
Hughes and Khawaja will return to their provincial teams for Sheffield Shield matches starting on November 13. Khawaja was allowed to play for injury-depleted Queensland against New South Wales at the Gabba - venue for the first Ashes Test - while Hughes was replaced by South Australia teammate Ferguson.
"In light of Callum's selection, Phil Hughes, who has played a lot of international cricket in recent months, will remain with South Australia for its next Shield match," Cricket Australia team performance manager Pat Howard said in a statement.
England is chasing a fourth consecutive Ashes series win for the first time in more than a century. The Invitational XI has a strong batting lineup led by Test opener Ed Cowan, but is weak in the bowling department.
Cricket Australia responded to England's requests for stronger pre-Ashes competition by upgrading the team from a New South Wales XI to an invitational lineup. But the bulk of the bowlers are still second-stringers from the New South Wales squad.
"In selecting the XI, we have tried to be flexible given the needs of particular states and individual players following the latest round of first-class matches across the country," Howard said.
Cricket Australia XI: Ed Cowan, Aaron Finch, Callum Ferguson, Adam Voges, Ben Rohrer, Ryan Carters, Peter Nevill, Stephen O'Keefe, Josh Lalor, Chris Tremain, Nic Bills.