Belfast Telegraph

We have time to get out of this mess, says Prior

Matt Prior insisted England had no excuses for their Headingley capitulation.

England's players were forced to stand outside their Leeds city centre hotel for more than half an hour following a 4.50am fire alarm and then feared wicketkeeper Prior was going to follow crocked all-rounder Andrew Flintoff onto the sidelines.

“There were a number of things that you could say were distracting but that's no excuse,” Prior said. “We've all played enough cricket and we're all big enough and experienced enough to be able to adapt to things, put things behind us and get on with the job.”

“Anyone would be slightly miffed standing around at five in the morning in the rain with no shoes on. It was a few grumpy people moaning they had been woken up early.”

Prior's mood went downhill, however, when his back seized up, as it has done in the past when on Sussex duty.

England coach Andy Flower and Strauss began making contingency plans to call in a replacement but a painkilling injection allowed Prior the chance to undergo a fitness check ahead of the 11am start.

“The only thing on my mind was trying to get my breath back and trying to move my arms and legs,” said Prior, following his misfortune.

“I would not have been able to play without that 10-minute delay, so I was very grateful for it and it was very good of the Aussies to agree to that.

“I knew from previous experience that these things only get better and better and I knew that come tomorrow if I didn't play I'd probably be right as rain and absolutely gutted.

“At the time I probably did punch the air when we won the toss but obviously I was having to walk out there fairly soon.”

Having come into the game potentially five days away from winning the Ashes, England will have to pull off something spectacular to do so from here.

But Prior said: “We can get out of this. It's not been a good day, absolutely, and we're behind the eight ball but this game turns around so quickly.

“There's still enough in this wicket, it's still moving around and it's still swinging.

“We still have four days to come back, which is good for us.

“Early wickets tomorrow will be important but I believe we've got the bowlers in the dressing room that can certainly do that and turn this game around.

“When we get our chance to bat again there are going to be some very determined players and some very determined batsmen.”

Belfast Telegraph


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