New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 5th day March 26, 2013

Prior makes the most of his luck

Matt Prior's unbeaten hundred in Auckland put the seal on a magnificent series for him, with bat and gloves, and has rightly given him a strong claim to being the best in the world at his role.
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Ed Smith, the former Kent and England batsman who is featured on this website, has written a book called Luck. We don't know if Matt Prior has read it, but he would now certainly be able to add a few thoughts about the concept.

His outstanding, match-saving hundred in Auckland owed much to a massive stroke of fortune when the ball, ricocheting down off his glove as he fended off a bouncer, lobbed towards the base of the stumps, striking them with reasonable force, and yet the bails remained firmly in place.

The significance of the bails staying on did not immediately register with the England camp. "It was a little bit too far out," Alastair Cook said. "But you do need a little bit of luck in those situations, and I suppose we did get a bit."

He was on 28 at the time and England were 207 for 6, still facing a huge task to salvage a draw in the match and the series, but 43 overs later Prior raised his arms in triumph after defending the final ball of the match from Trent Boult. It put the seal on a magnificent series for him, with bat and gloves, and has rightly given him a strong claim to being the best in the world at his role.

The unmovable bails were not his only heart-in-mouth moments, either. Two pulls, a shot he kept on playing even when runs were not the issue, just evaded fielders at mid-on and midwicket, and there were at least two inside edges that scooted past the stumps. At one stage, he gave Tim Southee, a bowler as luckless as Prior was lucky, a pat on the shoulder and pair shared a wry smile. This, though, was cut-throat Test cricket.

Brendon McCullum, an outstanding ambassador for his team throughout the series, was gracious amid his heartbreak: "There were twists and turns and half chances, little things you look back on and think 'if only', but I guess that all added to the drama. Take nothing away from the way Matt played, I thought it was an incredible innings played under severe pressure. He stood up and showed why he's the player he is."

If ever a cricketer deserved some things to go his way, it is Prior. It had previously been mentioned on the tour how selfless he is when he skipped his way to 82 in Wellington and departed looking for quick runs. That was not a one-off. He is the absolute team man and the embodiment of fighting spirit, although he isn't alone in this England team in that regard, as the final day showed. Ian Bell ended a disappointing series with a 271-ball, six-hour stay that brought back memories of his Cape Town heroics in 2010 and Stuart Broad defied his declining batting form to support Prior until the dying moments.

When Prior came to speak after the third day's play, with England a long away adrift in the match after a poor first innings, he was almost emotional in his defiance and determination that the team would be able to "fight" their way out of it. "We do it the hard way," he said, but the final moments in Auckland were taking it to extremes even for him.

With less than four overs to go Broad, whose 77-ball 6 was his second-best Test innings after the 169 against Pakistan, at Lord's, because it went so against the grain and James Anderson edged to slip off Kane Williamson in the space of three balls. When Anderson fell, Prior turned at the non-striker's end and took a deep breath, then practised a few more defensive shots. Walking out was Monty Panesar and, for at least one ball, as Williamson ended his over, Prior was helpless. All this work could have come to nothing just then. It almost did, but Panesar survived by the skin of his teeth.

This innings was the perfect example of staying true to your natural instincts and it highlighted, once again, what an outstanding batsman Prior is in his own right.

With three overs left, Prior tried to engineer the strike and with some help from Panesar - including a desperate dive from about halfway down the pitch that will probably already be on YouTube - Prior managed to face 14 of the last 19 deliveries.

"He's batted so well this winter, and got quite a few fifties, so it's great for him to get a hundred," Cook said. "It's amazing. You think he's batting out for a draw, and he still scores at strike rates quicker than I can when I'm batting normally. He just has this way of finding scoring shots and it was a great knock under a huge amount of pressure. He's had a fantastic winter."

This innings was the perfect example of staying true to your natural instincts and it highlighted, once again, what an outstanding batsman Prior is in his own right. After a series where England's four-man bowling attack has struggled for potency over lengthy periods, Prior's form will continue to spark the debate over whether it is now time for Andy Flower to bite the bullet and put faith in him as the No. 6, which would allow England another bowling allrounder at No.7.

There are valid arguments both ways: Australia rarely moved Adam Gilchrist from No. 7, but it is also important a team makes the best use of the players they have available. The likelihood is that Prior will stay where he is, more often than not producing just the innings England need at just the right time. Perhaps, though, he might not want to push his luck so much next time.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY elsmallo on | March 26, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    Prior deserves all the credit; at times he seems like the brains, heart, soul and hands of the England team and, especially without Swann in NZ, he has shouldered a lot of responsibility of late. He's the best English keeper/batsman I can remember, and one of the stand-out characters too. There are lots of excellent keepers around at the minute, most of whom play a similar role for their team. Comparisons are boring - it's better to see these guys up against each other. For me McCullum and Prior were the players of this series. Prior could easily be England captain if it weren't for Cook's outstanding batting success; I think he'd be a better captain, judging by the recent success of MS.Dhoni and McCullum. Credit also due to Bell, who is still yet to play a defining innings and has looked on the wane in recent months, but played a classic rearguard knock again here without surviving the piece. Bell often looks culpable when England fail but he does not lack for trying.

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | March 26, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    Matt Prior has the incredible ability to bring out his best when England need it the most.He has been brilliant since the SA series last year both with the gloves and the bat.He almost pulled off a win in the third test against SA to level the series and was brilliant with his 91 against India in Ahmedabad.This one was a stamped specimen of his gritty and untiring self.It was heartening to see him play positively even when he was careful not to lose his wicket.The kiwi bowlers threw every possible missile in their armour.But it took some serious determination and belief by Matt to get through.Take a bow man.And celebrate this one cause you REALLY deserve it.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | March 27, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    @gsingh7 on (March 27, 2013, 5:26 GMT) Did you really write that "New Zealand will never win the World Cup with such an attitude"? Please tell us what the 50 overs World Cup has to do with this 450 overs Test Match. AND did you write "New Zealand lacks mental strength"? Remind us please what were India's results in their Test series in England in 2011 and in Australia in 2011/12? And what was the result when England toured India 3 months ago? And yet you claim that "New Zealand lacks mental strength" even though they stood up to England in a way that India did not. Laughable. You really are very knowledgeable aren't you?

  • POSTED BY ozziespirit on | March 27, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    Prior is the best wicket keeper in the world, that much is fact, AB is just a long-stop and Prior pulls of the most athletic catches I've ever seen. But the keeper/batsman debate is clouded by the AB Vs Prior batting stats. They average almost the same, but Prior is more destructive certainly. The last Ashes he did what he does every game for England: take the game away from the opposing team with a devastating innings. And he remains in top form in an Ashes year.

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | March 27, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    @JG & 64b - Root & Woakes FC averages are virtually identical, although you can temper that by saying Root opens the batting & Woakes often comes in at 6 or 7. As JG points out though, Woakes has often rescued Warwickshire from disappointing starts, which shows a good temperament. I think Root has looked technically out of his depth against seam this series - not a good sign with NZ & Oz to come at home. Don't think the batting is England's main worry though - it's how toothless the attack looked at times. Finn's confidence in his new run-up drained visibly as the series went on & Broad is never likely to be consistent. I think the likes of Wright, Woakes, Roland-Jones, Meaker & Harris can really put the pressure on for a spot if they have good starts to the season, which is a good thing - I get the feeling England's clutch of seamers have gotten a bit comfortable and need a kick up the behind!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 27, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    @64blip - Sure but we don't know for sure. I believe Woakes averaged similar (if not better) last season with the bat and in the higher tier. As a Somerset fan I regularly monitored the top sides in div 1 and re Warwicks , I noticed they'd often go 4 or 5 down for less than 150 And Woakes (along with maybe Clarke or Barker) would come in and turn it around. Obviously he may never make the transition with bat or ball (if given the chance) but no one can say he couldn't even if Root has more talent. Yes Root did well yesterday but what did he do in the rest of the series? I'd want to try Woakes as an all rounder , more for his bowling. I feel throughout this series (and others) we lacked penetration with the ball so playing a 5/1/5 means someone has to go. Root or Bell.

  • POSTED BY Fluffykins on | March 27, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    @PPD Don't worry I asked that question and got all the stats telling me why he shouldn't be....But I agree with you, I mean lets be honest in recent times who would we really have wanted behind the sticks in our ODIs,the best test wicket keeper in the world or Kieswetter?

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | March 27, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    prior's luck seems to be real winner here apart from fulton grit and mccullum aggressive batting. nz once again fall short of finish line, they will never win wc with such attitude. they should follow india who were ruthless in 2011 to defeat all teams to win wc. nz lacks mental strength.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | March 27, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    @Xolile If you mean the batting ability of wicketkeepers then maybe you are correct. Otherwise, just wait for another couple of years and see how ABD performs as a wicketkeeper against spinners in India, SL and UAE. I still prefer Knott to Gilchrist and Flower. Good bat and one of the best ever behind the stumps.

  • POSTED BY Baxter_P on | March 27, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I'd keep Prior at 7, and persevere with Root (at least for the NZ tests, then reassess before the Ashes). Root showed a lot of style in the ODIs, and character and tenacity at times in the tests. He seems likely to become a test quality No. 6. The issue is that England's 'tail' is a bit of problem. If Swann comes back in that helps, but I'd like to see Broad's batting improve towards the level he was at in 2010-11. Finn has shown he can bat a bit and is a decent No. 9 or 10, but ideally England need Broad to produce more runs consistently at No. 8 (an average of, say, 25 - his current career average). Root, Prior and an in-form Broad at 6-8 would rule out the need for a bowling all-rounder, and with Swann and Finn to follow, that's decent batting depth. Unless the next Flintoff materialises, of course. But I think the England XI is really well-balanced; besides SA, the best-balanced XI in world cricket.

  • POSTED BY elsmallo on | March 26, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    Prior deserves all the credit; at times he seems like the brains, heart, soul and hands of the England team and, especially without Swann in NZ, he has shouldered a lot of responsibility of late. He's the best English keeper/batsman I can remember, and one of the stand-out characters too. There are lots of excellent keepers around at the minute, most of whom play a similar role for their team. Comparisons are boring - it's better to see these guys up against each other. For me McCullum and Prior were the players of this series. Prior could easily be England captain if it weren't for Cook's outstanding batting success; I think he'd be a better captain, judging by the recent success of MS.Dhoni and McCullum. Credit also due to Bell, who is still yet to play a defining innings and has looked on the wane in recent months, but played a classic rearguard knock again here without surviving the piece. Bell often looks culpable when England fail but he does not lack for trying.

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | March 26, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    Matt Prior has the incredible ability to bring out his best when England need it the most.He has been brilliant since the SA series last year both with the gloves and the bat.He almost pulled off a win in the third test against SA to level the series and was brilliant with his 91 against India in Ahmedabad.This one was a stamped specimen of his gritty and untiring self.It was heartening to see him play positively even when he was careful not to lose his wicket.The kiwi bowlers threw every possible missile in their armour.But it took some serious determination and belief by Matt to get through.Take a bow man.And celebrate this one cause you REALLY deserve it.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | March 27, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    @gsingh7 on (March 27, 2013, 5:26 GMT) Did you really write that "New Zealand will never win the World Cup with such an attitude"? Please tell us what the 50 overs World Cup has to do with this 450 overs Test Match. AND did you write "New Zealand lacks mental strength"? Remind us please what were India's results in their Test series in England in 2011 and in Australia in 2011/12? And what was the result when England toured India 3 months ago? And yet you claim that "New Zealand lacks mental strength" even though they stood up to England in a way that India did not. Laughable. You really are very knowledgeable aren't you?

  • POSTED BY ozziespirit on | March 27, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    Prior is the best wicket keeper in the world, that much is fact, AB is just a long-stop and Prior pulls of the most athletic catches I've ever seen. But the keeper/batsman debate is clouded by the AB Vs Prior batting stats. They average almost the same, but Prior is more destructive certainly. The last Ashes he did what he does every game for England: take the game away from the opposing team with a devastating innings. And he remains in top form in an Ashes year.

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | March 27, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    @JG & 64b - Root & Woakes FC averages are virtually identical, although you can temper that by saying Root opens the batting & Woakes often comes in at 6 or 7. As JG points out though, Woakes has often rescued Warwickshire from disappointing starts, which shows a good temperament. I think Root has looked technically out of his depth against seam this series - not a good sign with NZ & Oz to come at home. Don't think the batting is England's main worry though - it's how toothless the attack looked at times. Finn's confidence in his new run-up drained visibly as the series went on & Broad is never likely to be consistent. I think the likes of Wright, Woakes, Roland-Jones, Meaker & Harris can really put the pressure on for a spot if they have good starts to the season, which is a good thing - I get the feeling England's clutch of seamers have gotten a bit comfortable and need a kick up the behind!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 27, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    @64blip - Sure but we don't know for sure. I believe Woakes averaged similar (if not better) last season with the bat and in the higher tier. As a Somerset fan I regularly monitored the top sides in div 1 and re Warwicks , I noticed they'd often go 4 or 5 down for less than 150 And Woakes (along with maybe Clarke or Barker) would come in and turn it around. Obviously he may never make the transition with bat or ball (if given the chance) but no one can say he couldn't even if Root has more talent. Yes Root did well yesterday but what did he do in the rest of the series? I'd want to try Woakes as an all rounder , more for his bowling. I feel throughout this series (and others) we lacked penetration with the ball so playing a 5/1/5 means someone has to go. Root or Bell.

  • POSTED BY Fluffykins on | March 27, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    @PPD Don't worry I asked that question and got all the stats telling me why he shouldn't be....But I agree with you, I mean lets be honest in recent times who would we really have wanted behind the sticks in our ODIs,the best test wicket keeper in the world or Kieswetter?

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | March 27, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    prior's luck seems to be real winner here apart from fulton grit and mccullum aggressive batting. nz once again fall short of finish line, they will never win wc with such attitude. they should follow india who were ruthless in 2011 to defeat all teams to win wc. nz lacks mental strength.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | March 27, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    @Xolile If you mean the batting ability of wicketkeepers then maybe you are correct. Otherwise, just wait for another couple of years and see how ABD performs as a wicketkeeper against spinners in India, SL and UAE. I still prefer Knott to Gilchrist and Flower. Good bat and one of the best ever behind the stumps.

  • POSTED BY Baxter_P on | March 27, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I'd keep Prior at 7, and persevere with Root (at least for the NZ tests, then reassess before the Ashes). Root showed a lot of style in the ODIs, and character and tenacity at times in the tests. He seems likely to become a test quality No. 6. The issue is that England's 'tail' is a bit of problem. If Swann comes back in that helps, but I'd like to see Broad's batting improve towards the level he was at in 2010-11. Finn has shown he can bat a bit and is a decent No. 9 or 10, but ideally England need Broad to produce more runs consistently at No. 8 (an average of, say, 25 - his current career average). Root, Prior and an in-form Broad at 6-8 would rule out the need for a bowling all-rounder, and with Swann and Finn to follow, that's decent batting depth. Unless the next Flintoff materialises, of course. But I think the England XI is really well-balanced; besides SA, the best-balanced XI in world cricket.

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | March 26, 2013, 22:56 GMT

    DRS is the real winner today. If we didnt use it everyone would have been talking about the umpires rather than the superb & hypnotic cricket we saw here.

  • POSTED BY 64blip on | March 26, 2013, 22:21 GMT

    @JG2704 Root batted a session, I doubt Woakes would have. Which would have meant that Monty and Prior would have had to make up the difference (assuming Broad and Anderson's contributions were the same). I don't fancy those odds. Woakes would have given us an extra bowling option only in the sense Cook could have chosen from 5 bowlers to go round the park instead of 4.

  • POSTED BY ozziespirit on | March 26, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    Prior is an amazing keeper and his catching is both athletic and flawless. Keeping skills are not recorded in stats so only those who saw the game can speak about a keeper's quality of catching, but Prior in this area is better than AB De Villiers. It's also difficult for me to say this but Prior is a thousand times better than Matthew Wade, who is a permanent embarrassment to Australia. How we would love a keeper who can keep, and keep like Prior, and a batsman as good as Prior.

  • POSTED BY wgtnpom on | March 26, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    Xolile: "all time" doesn't mean just this century. I can think of three others just off the top of my head, Stewart, Knott, Ames. Oh, and I think Frank Worrell might be a candidate as well. And Sangakarra perhapds (more recent). The point being Test cricket was played before 2000 - for over 100 years.

  • POSTED BY PPD123 on | March 26, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Can someone pls tell me - How can Prior not be fit to be in the England ODI team ahead of Kieswetter/Butler etc etc... I mean the Eng selectors must be ridiculously poor not to have prior in the team and have these half baked crickters instead.

  • POSTED BY liz1558 on | March 26, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    No doubt Prior played a good knock, but this was really a two man relay that Bell started and Prior finished as the Ron Burgundy. It was probably the right way round, as it's hard to imagine Bell keeping his cool under the same sort of pressure at the death, and impossible to imagine Prior blocking for 6 hours. The hard cheese for Bell is that no one cares who set the pace, but who crossed the finish line. Poor old Bell; 65% of the time, he works every time.

  • POSTED BY Kirstenfan on | March 26, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    Prior best in the business, come on! Best case for him is a fight with Dhoni about who is number 2 to AB, reckon it's a home and away thing...bloody good fighter all the same

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 26, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    @voma on (March 26, 2013, 13:21 GMT) It's a tough one. I agree , I'd like to see Eng play with a little less fear - a la Ashes 2005 , but I guess it's a big call considering dropping players who are averaging in their late 40s.

    @64blip on (March 26, 2013, 13:11 GMT) Gaining Woakes may not be the worst thing? It's an extra bowling option which I reckon we could have done with on this tour.

    @elsmallo on (March 26, 2013, 16:40 GMT) I too think Prior would make a better captain. Feel he's more his own man and wouldn't need to consult the Strauss/Flower textbook if he was given a free reign as captain

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 26, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    @vswami on (March 26, 2013, 10:48 GMT) Prior never really did it for England in the shorter formats when he was in the side before. As someone put on here before , Keiswetter (despite being lambasted so often on here) has a better SR and average and Jos has come in and started to show signs of fulfilling his potential. Why would we rock the bout bringing back a player who would probably end up being rested most of the time anyway? Also Prior was intimating that the Eng test contract hampered his IPL chances. If he was picked for the ODIs/T20s he'd have even less T20 chances in overseas tournaments.

  • POSTED BY philvic on | March 26, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    I have said for a while that Prior is probably the best batsman in the England team. He fulfils a valuable role at number 7 but he is easily good enough to bat higher up and become even more important.

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    Roy, i know that AVDB is a fine keeper and i fully expect him to go from strength to strength. But at the moment he hasn't done the role of keep batsman for very long at all, at least not on a permanent basis.liek i said before, hes done this role for less than a year, its too soon to say how good he'll be. i think he'll be good but we just on't know yet.

  • POSTED BY BellCurve on | March 26, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    Greatest Test wicket-keeper batsmen if all time: 1 De Villiers 2 Flower 3 Gilchrist 4 Prior

  • POSTED BY screamingeagle on | March 26, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    Prior and Bell batted very well, kudos to them. India won the series, well done. SA beat Pak, well done. Just say that, why keep pointing out, this went that way, that went this way etc.

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    Those who say AB is not a decent keeper, what planet are you on? He is a fine keeper and he will only get better. The reason he hasn't kept is two fold, he IS such a good batsman and SA had a very good incumbent in Boucher. Now it is in the best interest of his team for him to keep and he is doing a very good job - did any of you doubters actually watch him keep this summer?? If in time a good enough keeper batsman appears, perhaps de Kock, who can give SA the right balance and perhaps protect AB's back then no doubt he will step down and concentrate on his batting. Do not mistake the fact that he was picked initially as a batsman means he isn't a "proper" keeper. And remember the guy is regarded as one of the finest around talents ever seen!

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | March 26, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    He is some sort of a legend this guy.Totally awesome. I did wonder when the ball failed to dislodge the bails whether it would be his day and we would get through some how. A couple of slightly hazardous pulls seemd to confirm that and when he got the strike in the final over it was clear we had done the deed and drawn. What did he say to Monty to relax him because Monty was positively swaggering back to the crease before facing Boult.? His keeping too was brilliant in this game as most games.

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    As a Kiwi - I am heart broken. So close and yet so far. NZ deserved to win this match for sure. May be Brendon should have declared once NZ crossed 400. Don't they say hindsight is 20/20?

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | March 26, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    Funny isn't it how Ian bell is almost completley looked over.

    Next time he gets a 100, the knives will be out again saying that he only scores when we're in a good position. or when he gets out for a duck they'll call for his head. Most underrated cricketer today.

    Well done to Matty P, of course. I do love how most fans from other countries can't seem to say well played to an Englishman, they always have to say such and such a player is/was better.

  • POSTED BY voma on | March 26, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    A quallity player now for sure , but England cant run from the fact they have a big problem with this current batting line up. Cook , Compton ,Trott and now Ian bell are all to similar in playing style , ie defensive batsmen . Apart from Pieterson , theres only matty prior who can up the tempo and score quickly.Thats why i believe he should move up the batting order . Let the new guys , like root and bairstow to fill the no 7 position .

  • POSTED BY 64blip on | March 26, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    A definite no to Prior at 6. We lose Root and gain who? Woakes? Stokes? Patel?? We currently have no genuine international all-rounder. Wishing won't make it so, just ask the Aussies ;-)

  • POSTED BY kalimantan on | March 26, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    The reason people aren't including AbdV in the comparison of best keeper-batsman in the game right now is that he isn't a keeper. He's a batsman who has taken the gloves for a while. Better bat, no doubt, but his keeping is basic at best. If Cook, Clarke or Amla took the gloves for a while, would that make them the best keeper-batsman? No, because they are not keepers.

    To argue otherwise is to relegate the skills of wicket-keeping to a mere luxury that can be dispensed with - as SA with their other riches are clearly doing.

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    ABDV is the better batsman, but as far as keeper/batsman goes, he needs to carry on in the role for a while longer yet. Keep in mind that he's only been handling the dual role for less than a calendar year and its very possible his average will drop as time goes on (not saying it will, just saying its too early to tell). I'd also say that atm Prior is the better keeper.

  • POSTED BY THE_MIZ on | March 26, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    Matt Prior is definitely a top wicketkeeper batsman. Though he's not quite in the league of a certain AB DeVilliers. Why people are arguing between Dhoni and Prior as the best is beyond me.

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    I love the way leap on the bandwagon with their historic comparisons without really considering the facts. Prior is in no doubt England's premier current wicketkeeper batsman. That's fact. Old timers point to Knott as a better wicketkeeper and, statistically at least, Ames is a close equivalent as a batsman if one looks back to history. Gilchrist averaged better and ended with 17 tons. However the best record of all is Andy Flower who scored 12 tons in 100 innings as a keeper, several as captain as well, and an average of 54. However, and this is where my opinion cuts in, I very much suspect that one AB deV will have something to say about this debate should he remain keeping for SA for much longer. That all said, Prior is a fantastic cricketer!

  • POSTED BY venkatesh018 on | March 26, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    Really I didn't think England will pull this one off ! Prior was magnificent. Still, I thought McCullum and his bowlers deserved to win.

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | March 26, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    Wow poor kiwis but if this a turn around and the performance improves-Indians better watch out when they land there. It could be a hard tour....I wish Kiwis all the best. They are my favourite under dog team ....and they fight...and at the same time look like good sportsmen....

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    Did I miss a point or am I right in believing it is pretty unfair on Ian Bell not to get plaudits too, he hung in there for almost 100 more balls than Prior did!!!

  • POSTED BY pratit on | March 26, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Matt Prior is definitely one of the best wicketkeeper-batsman going around, with only AB to compare to him. He is way underrated, maybe he lacks the charisma, but he plays valuable fighting back-against-the-wall innings again and again. Remember some Indian fans rating Dhoni above Prior after his once in a bluemoon performance in Chennai. Truth is Dhoni does not even deserve to mentioned in the same breath as Prior in test cricket. A player like him deserves all the luck.

  • POSTED BY liz1558 on | March 26, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    When McCullum made the Bradman comment, it was the wrong player and the wrong comparison. It would be fairer to say that after Gilchrist, Prior is the best wicket-batsman in the history of the game; although the distance between the two men isn't that significant. One of the best things Flower has done is to resist the urge to promote him to 6 to accommodate another bowler. What a guy!

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    vswami why do you and others insist on saying that Prior is a must for England in ODIs and T20? He is a superb keeper/batsman in tests, but not in limited overs. He has had his chances - 68 ODI caps - and he averages just 24.18. And its not a case of him having a great domestic record in limited overs; 220 List A games and an average of 27.45. He has never shown any sort of form in limited overs to suggest that he is this "no brainer" you and so many others for the limited overs formats.

  • POSTED BY Phat-Boy on | March 26, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    Until ABDV proves that he has longevity in the role, Prior has to be regarded unquestionably as the best in the business, even more so given that he so often does it when they need it most.

    Dhoni played one super knock a few weeks ago and is a dependable player. But let's be realistic, every piece of available information says that Prior is a vastly superior test batsman and keeper.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | March 26, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Everyone's aware of how Prior's the best keeper in the world. And the best Keeper/Batsman. Compare this to the state of Australian cricket, as delighted English fans no doubt cannot avoid doing at the moment: Australia's keeper is Wade, who cannot catch and can barely bat. What a gulf exists between these two teams generally. Bring on the Ashes.

  • POSTED BY nzcricket174 on | March 26, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    Once upon a time he was a rubbish keeper. Now he has evolved into a solid wickey who has the potential to kick on and become a great. The only conundrum is his strike rate in tests - it would lead you to believe he must be some out of the ordinary ODI/T20 player. Still can't comprehend why he has failed time after time at limited overs cricket.

  • POSTED BY vswami on | March 26, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    For the tag of best keeper batsman in the world, its a no contest. The only staggering thing is why England keep experimenting with half baked keeper batsmen in ODIs. Prior is a no brainer in England ODI and T20 teams as well. Class players will always do well in any format.

  • POSTED BY sachin_vvsfan on | March 26, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    He almost lost his place in 2007 (when india toured ) for his keeping skills but tremendously improved then after. Ian chappel that time said Eng cannot fancy their ashes chances with a woeful WK like him. How times have changed!!!

  • POSTED BY Big_Chikka on | March 26, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Well played Matt Prior, great advert for playing 'your game,' class act mate. And, Monty crap series but you proved your worth, never have so few balls faced meant so much. Good luck for the ashes.

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    As a kiwi that stayed up late to watch live streaming of the England vs India and England vs South Africa and India vs South Africa series over the last three years (Sky in NZ doesn't show many of the other tours that don't involve NZ, they seem to think that a replay of PGA or some other snooze fest is a better use of their money and timeslots) as well as all NZ tours in that time, I would agree with the claims about Prior being the best keep-batsman going in tests (AB dV dropped the gloves for a while and only recently took them back so he doesn't count so easily). Dhoni only performs occasionally and if outside India he struggles (keep in mind I'm referring to tests as well) whereas Prior is showing an ability to score in all circumstances. He really is a fantastic player, and he helped make this series memorable. Bring on the return series in May, I can't wait to see it!

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | March 26, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    And to pose a question now; in tests who would you have, MP or MSD?

    I think MP edges it in tests, of course MS is the better ODI player, but looking at tests, I think it would have to be MP for me.

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Prior now is some batsman, I hope his form and good fortune continue for what is a complete professional and a decent bloke

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | March 26, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Well played Matty Prior and Ian Bell, great stuff to save the match. Well played New Zeland as well, you have really pushed the England team this test, and a lot of the series. Looks like good things are coming fo you. Great to see the fight from the boys as well at the end, we might not have be able to win, but at least we're hard to beat!

    Looking forward to the return games now, hopefully the dreadful weather in England will change by the time you get here.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | March 26, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Well played Matty Prior and Ian Bell, great stuff to save the match. Well played New Zeland as well, you have really pushed the England team this test, and a lot of the series. Looks like good things are coming fo you. Great to see the fight from the boys as well at the end, we might not have be able to win, but at least we're hard to beat!

    Looking forward to the return games now, hopefully the dreadful weather in England will change by the time you get here.

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Prior now is some batsman, I hope his form and good fortune continue for what is a complete professional and a decent bloke

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | March 26, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    And to pose a question now; in tests who would you have, MP or MSD?

    I think MP edges it in tests, of course MS is the better ODI player, but looking at tests, I think it would have to be MP for me.

  • POSTED BY on | March 26, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    As a kiwi that stayed up late to watch live streaming of the England vs India and England vs South Africa and India vs South Africa series over the last three years (Sky in NZ doesn't show many of the other tours that don't involve NZ, they seem to think that a replay of PGA or some other snooze fest is a better use of their money and timeslots) as well as all NZ tours in that time, I would agree with the claims about Prior being the best keep-batsman going in tests (AB dV dropped the gloves for a while and only recently took them back so he doesn't count so easily). Dhoni only performs occasionally and if outside India he struggles (keep in mind I'm referring to tests as well) whereas Prior is showing an ability to score in all circumstances. He really is a fantastic player, and he helped make this series memorable. Bring on the return series in May, I can't wait to see it!

  • POSTED BY Big_Chikka on | March 26, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Well played Matt Prior, great advert for playing 'your game,' class act mate. And, Monty crap series but you proved your worth, never have so few balls faced meant so much. Good luck for the ashes.

  • POSTED BY sachin_vvsfan on | March 26, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    He almost lost his place in 2007 (when india toured ) for his keeping skills but tremendously improved then after. Ian chappel that time said Eng cannot fancy their ashes chances with a woeful WK like him. How times have changed!!!

  • POSTED BY vswami on | March 26, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    For the tag of best keeper batsman in the world, its a no contest. The only staggering thing is why England keep experimenting with half baked keeper batsmen in ODIs. Prior is a no brainer in England ODI and T20 teams as well. Class players will always do well in any format.

  • POSTED BY nzcricket174 on | March 26, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    Once upon a time he was a rubbish keeper. Now he has evolved into a solid wickey who has the potential to kick on and become a great. The only conundrum is his strike rate in tests - it would lead you to believe he must be some out of the ordinary ODI/T20 player. Still can't comprehend why he has failed time after time at limited overs cricket.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | March 26, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Everyone's aware of how Prior's the best keeper in the world. And the best Keeper/Batsman. Compare this to the state of Australian cricket, as delighted English fans no doubt cannot avoid doing at the moment: Australia's keeper is Wade, who cannot catch and can barely bat. What a gulf exists between these two teams generally. Bring on the Ashes.

  • POSTED BY Phat-Boy on | March 26, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    Until ABDV proves that he has longevity in the role, Prior has to be regarded unquestionably as the best in the business, even more so given that he so often does it when they need it most.

    Dhoni played one super knock a few weeks ago and is a dependable player. But let's be realistic, every piece of available information says that Prior is a vastly superior test batsman and keeper.