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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Nervous Prior calms nerves to set it up for England

Nervous Prior calms nerves to set it up for England

Last updated on: July 25, 2011 11:45 IST

'I was pretty nervous walking out at 60 for 5'

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England's saviour in the second innings, Matt Prior said he was nervous when he walked out to bat after half of his team had been dismissed in the second innings of the first cricket Test against India at Lord's, London.

- Match report

- Scorecard

"I didn't expect to bat before lunch. I was looking at the menu and that sort of thing and suddenly I was taking my guard. I wanted to first build a stand, settle everything else -- the crowd was noisy, the Indians were up for it and Ishant had his heels up," said Prior whose unbeaten 103 was the cornerstone of England's 269 for six that set India a target of 458 on Sunday.

"I was pretty nervous walking out at 60 for 5. Having played so well for the first three days, we wanted to choose to declare. It was important we were calm and get rid of that position," he added.


Image: Matt Prior reacts after reaching his century against India
Photographs: Getty Images
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'No devils in the wicket'

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Despite having the upper hand, Prior said it will take a lot of effort from his team to win the match.

"There are a lot of runs in the wicket. There are no devils, it's a pretty good deck and still has a huge amount of runs in it. Their batting is very strong and a lot of hard work is ahead of us," stated Prior.

"It's a kind of wicket where you could go for an hour without the wicket and then could have a silly hour where you pick 3-4 wickets. We would do it the way we always do -- trying to do well in the first half an hour, then hour and from then on sessions."


Image: Matt Prior

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'We are in a good position'

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India escaped with a draw four years ago at this venue when rain and an unbeaten 76 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni helped the visitors cling on to their 1-0 lead.

"It's very important it doesn't happen this time. Test wins against quality opposition doesn't come about often. We are in a good position and the way to take wickets is to bowl in good areas and put pressure. That's the way we have done it in the last two years," the wicketkeeper-batsman said.

Prior said he was surprised when he saw Suresh Raina start the proceedings in the afternoon.

"I don't think there was a huge difference in intensity. Probably this time we nicked balls which we didn't nick in the first innings. Luck always plays a part in this game.

"As for Suresh Raina, I was a little bit surprised. Between the break, me and Broad were discussing who we were coming up against on resumption."


Image: Matt Prior

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't's a type of wicket where you can't over-attack'

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A criticism levelled against England was that they didn't put too many close-in fielders when India batted.

"It's a type of wicket you can't over-attack. You want your bowlers to bowl fuller length and look to swing it, but to have some cover to go with it. There's not a lot of pace in this wicket and you can't allow Indians to get some easy runs.

"If it's swinging we would have more fielders close to the bat and build pressure."

This was Prior's third ton at Lord's, his sixth overall in 44 Tests, something which could put him alongside Dhoni and Kumar Sangakkara as the most dominant wicketkeeper-batsmen.

"The competition always inspires me. You always want to do better than your opposite number and it also helps the team. As for Dhoni, he is a quality player. I have got a good start but there is a full series which lies ahead.


Image: Matt Prior

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'I always love coming back here'

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"I made my debut here and always love coming back. There is a bit of luck and things have gone my way. Sometimes things just happen that way, there is no necessary reason for that and hopefully it would continue."

Prior has a challenger in Craig Kieswetter for the position behind the stumps, but he doesn't mind it at all.

"It's a fickle world. As long as I am scoring runs and catching more than dropping, I am happy. It's a huge series for these reasons. In international sports, it not how you get into those challenges but how you come out of it and what you have learnt, the demons you have conquered -- that is important.


Image: Matt Prior

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