England news June 11, 2015

Three Ashes and countless battles

As Matt Prior hangs up his gloves, a look back at some of the highs and lows of his career which included three victorious Ashes series

Matt Prior's counter-attacking batting was a central plank to the England team, especially when he returned in 2008 © Getty Images

April, 2001: Sussex debuts

Matt Prior made his one-day and first-class debuts for Sussex early in the 2001 season, both against Worcestershire.

December 2004: Bulawayo bow

His England debut came at one-day level first, against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, where he made 35 off 48 balls playing as a batsman and opening the innings with Ian Bell.

May 2007: Larging it at Lord's

Marked his Test debut with a ferocious hundred against West Indies, 126 off 128 balls, becoming the first England wicketkeeper to make a century on his first appearance.

December 2007: Drops and dropped

Prior remained in the Test team for the remainder of 2007, but he endured a difficult series against India where he was embroiled in the controversy over who threw sweets on the pitch at Trent Bridge and, more importantly, spilled catches behind the stumps. That continued in Sri Lanka and at the end of that tour he was left out in favour of former Sussex team-mate Tim Ambrose.

December 2008: Chennai comeback

He made his comeback towards the end of the 2008 season in the one-day side, under the captaincy of Kevin Pietersen, and then returned to the Test team on the tour of India when it resumed following the Mumbai terror attack. He made an unbeaten 53 on his return - although England lost to a Sachin Tendulkar-inspired run chase - and he would remain a fixture in the Test side for five years.

March 2009: Tonking in Trinidad

On the following tour of West Indies - the first under the leadership of Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower - Prior capped off the series with his career-best 131 in Port of Spain, followed by 61 in the second innings.

August 2009: Ashes glory

Prior's first taste of Ashes cricket ended with England regaining the urn at The Oval. He made two half-centuries in the series (although he nearly missed the Headingley Test with a back spasm) and on the fourth day at The Oval produced a slick piece of work to stump Marcus North.

January 2011: Sydney stunner

He emerged from a slow start to his next Ashes - he was the middle victim of Peter Siddle's Brisbane hat-trick - with a surge of runs in the famous victories at Melbourne and Sydney, finishing with 118 at the SCG, and he also claimed 23 dismissals behind the stumps, the most he took in a series.

May-August 2011: Ruling the world

A golden period for Prior as he made it three hundreds in five Tests with centuries against Sri Lanka and India at Lord's - although the match against Sri Lanka also saw him make headlines for the slightly more unfortunate incident of putting his bat through a dressing-room window. Made more important runs against India at Trent Bridge on the way to England's 4-0 series victory which lifted them to No. 1 in the Test rankings.

March 2013: Great escape

Although England's Test fortunes soon started to slip from their 2011 peak, Prior remained at the heart of the team. He scored 275 runs in three Tests against South Africa and was a central figure in the famous victory in India, but he saved his best for New Zealand in Auckland. Five down at lunch on the final day - and seven at tea - England were given little hope of saving the match and hanging on for a share of the series but no one told Prior. Surviving a huge piece of luck on 28 when the ball did not dislodge a bail, he produced an unbeaten 110 and, alongside Stuart Broad and Monty Panesar, pulled off a great escape.

December 2013: Not quite the end

Named England's Player of the Year at the start of the 2013 season, Prior's form took a dip as he started with a pair against New Zealand at Lord's and was never at his best during the subsequent Ashes which England won 3-0. He started the return series down under, but when the Ashes were conceded he was dropped after the Perth Test where he had struggled with the gloves.

June 2014: Battling back

Prior was never one to give up and he fought his way back into the Test side at the beginning of the following summer, marking his return with 86 against Sri Lanka, but his injury soon started to take its toll again.

July 2014: Leaving at Lord's

Shortly after England had fallen to defeat against India at Lord's, Prior announced that he was withdrawing from the team due to his injury although he would likely have been dropped. That Test would prove to be his final professional match. For a player who had such a fine record at Lord's, it was ultimately fitting.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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