India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 3rd day November 17, 2012

It was a bit of a shocker - Prior


Matt Prior admitted England had endured "a bit of a shocker" as they sunk to 191 all out in their first innings in Ahmedabad. England's wicketkeeper accepted that his side had "underperformed" in replying to India's 521 for 8 declared, but felt they could take confidence from the start to their second innings. After being asked to follow-on 330 behind, Nick Compton and Alastair Cook reached stumps on 111 without loss, meaning India go into the fourth day leading by 219.

"We all know that our first innings was a bit of a shocker," Prior said. "To lose wickets quickly is always disappointing.

"I sat here two days before the Test and told you guys that it's all very well talking, but you have to go out there and do it. And unfortunately, first innings, we didn't do it. Simple as that. We're all honest enough to hold our hands up and say we didn't get that right.

"Everyone I know for a fact was keen to get into this Test match. The batters were keen to go out there and prove a point. We knew the wicket was going to turn a bit. Maybe we got a little bit too ahead of ourselves and a little bit panicky."

While accepting that England had underperformed, Prior was keen to defend Ian Bell who was dismissed first ball, caught in the deep, as he came down the wicket and drove to deep mid-off.

"He knows he got it slightly wrong today," Prior said. "One thing you talk about is playing your own game and backing yourself. Only Belly will know the plan he had and what he wanted to do and it didn't come off. If it had gone for a one-bounce four everyone would've said, 'what a fantastic shot, he's off and running.'

Those are the fine lines when you play sport. When it does not come off, it doesn't look great, admittedly, but you cannot question the quality and the class of a batter like Ian Bell. We all know that he's class and hopefully he'll show that. He is one of the finest batters of hitting the ball over the top that I know."

Prior insisted that there would be no recriminations in the England dressing room. Instead, he said the mood would remain constructive and England would take heart from the opening partnership in the second innings.

"We've played long enough and know each other well enough," Prior said. "There's no point sulking. We have a big second innings coming up and he'll be as motivated as any of our batters to get a big score.

"As a professional sportsman you have to look forward, look at a day and take the positives. The way Compo and Cookie went about their business this afternoon was fantastic. To end up none down at the end of the day, we'll take a huge amount from that. We're still behind in the game but it gives us a lot of confidence that we can go out and bat for a long period of time.

"In the second innings we seem to be a lot calmer. We have to take a lot from that, get our game-plans right and stick to a method. It's turning a bit and bouncing a bit, but you can bat periods of time.

"There's no point crying over spilt milk. You have to move on. We knew that we underperformed. No-one's more frustrated than the guys sat in the dressing-room, but, most importantly we went out there and are none down. That's a fantastic turnaround. We're behind the game, but fighting hard and still in the game.

"We're not going sit here and go, 'we're fantastically placed here and everything looks great.' Because it's not. We're still a long way behind the game, the wicket's turning and there is a bit of reverse swing. But what we will do is fight. And we will learn lessons from the first innings and try and make strides forward. If we do get anything from this game, that would be great. But, it's not unrealistic."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Senthil on November 18, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    Great to see England fight back. From a "nothing to lose" perspective, they should just relax and think about supporting Cook's monumental innings in whatever way possible. It would be hard to deny India a win but the pitch has settled down a little, and set batsmen with the head in the right place can play long innings. Great also to see India's bowling stepping up.

  • vinay on November 18, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    agreed with vijay.iiml. prior's was a sincere confession, unlike our superstar non-performers (all big names with 100s endorsements with them) finding excuses the biggest among them is dhoni. its a good sign of the top team that even if they fail in first innings, they admit their failure n come back strong in second innings.

  • Vijay on November 18, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    i wanted a similar reaction from indian players during their abysmal performance in England. Not one of them said they didnt perform well, instead kept blaming the pitch and conditions. You cannot get the your home conditions across the world. You need to adapt to the playing conditions. Period.

  • Pulkit on November 18, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    I don't have a problem with Prior defending Bell but even if that shot had gone for 4 - it would have been classified as "lucky", not "wonderful" or "clever". He just swung at it like a 3rd grader and he deserves the criticism that is coming his way.

    Cook and Compton played rather nicely after tea and England are well placed to make this match an interesting one but they seriously need to reconsider their approach towards spin or they'll collapse again.

    And to the naysayers, India, with half a bowling attack, dragged the first game at Lord's onto the 5th day and lost because they couldn't bat it out - not really all that bad. The only time they lost by an innings was during the 3rd test at Edgbaston.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    @splitvocal, bit of a different batting situation mate, also at least tendulkar had a bit of a look, Bell had no idea himself how much turn the pitch was taking...

  • liam on November 17, 2012, 22:34 GMT

    everyone having a go at ian bell here, yeah stupid shot, to early in the innings, i did notice howecver that the man who has scored the most runs in tests mr tendulkar himself got out in almost the fashion, one to mid on and one to mid off, so whatever you say about bell your sying about one of the worlds greatest!!

  • Shanmugam on November 17, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    If there is anything worse than the shot that Bell played, it is people defending it. England fans should be thankful that Bell won't play the second test to attend the birth of his child because England won't drop him and he simply lacks the confidence to play in these conditions. I wouldn't say he lacks the skill and that is why it is frustrating. Granted the wicket was turning, and the Indian spinners, especially Ojha, were creating plenty of doubts on the minds of the England batsmen. But, you still have to assess the situation, get yourself used to the bounce, before playing your shots. Nothing wrong in being positive, in fact, you have to be positive playing the spinners but not before you have got yourself settled and had a good look. England look like they will most likely lose on the 5th day now thanks to Compton and Cook's efforts. If they could avoid the innings defeat that would be great.

  • rahul on November 17, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    I am always amazed how Eng refuse to look at batsmen like Bell and admit that they have a problem scoring runs in these conditions. At least with subcontinent sides they call out the players who can't survive on bouncy tracks.

  • Dummy4 on November 17, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    come on ashwin and ojha wipe them off !! 10 more wickets and we will be 1-0

    i guess tom umesh and zaheer will get more wickets becoz of reverse swing !! cook,trott,bell,prior,kp ohh too bigg line up hoping for another collapse :-P

  • Steve on November 17, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    England will need to bat out of their socks tomorrow. The Indians will tire if instant gratification doesn't come their way. If (and it's a big IF) they can score another 300-350 tomorrow with a few wickets left it could be on for a classic 5th day. Unlikely as it seems it's POSSIBLE that England could set India tetchy 150 to win with 2 sessions on the final day. Maybe then the headlines will be about how Indian batters can't play classic offspin on turning wickets? (OK - coming doctor - is my medication ready) We can hope and dream but this is cricket and stranger things have happened.... remember Botham at Headingly? COME ON ENGLAND!!!

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