Prior confident of win
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:MJ Prior, PD Collingwood
Event:Australia in British Isles 2009

DateLine: 19th July 2009


England wicketkeeper Matt Prior propelled England into a winning position in the second npower Ashes Test and has now backed the bowlers to finish the job and secure the side a 1-0 lead in the series.


Prior's smashing kncok of 61, off just 42 deliveries, was the major force for an evening session which reaped 181 runs in just over 30 overs.


When rain forced close of play on day Three England had already piled up 311 for six, an overall advantage of 521, and now have two days to complete victory.


Earlier in the day, captain Andrew Strauss opted not to enforce the follow-on after securing a massive first-innings lead.


"We are very confident," said Prior, despite England's recent failures to close the deal in Tests against Sri Lanka and South Africa at the same ground.


"In the first innings we bowled them out for 215 and the wicket is the same wicket.


"We certainly have the firepower and the skill in the changing room to do the job.


"We are in a great position and it is up to us to push home. We are all very determined not to let this slip.


"We fought hard. You talk about putting your foot on someone's throat and not letting go - we've done that very well.


"They threw punches back, like any Australian team does, but we managed to cushion those blows and came back even harder."


The English are yet to decide about what to do on the fourth morning but there is such a long time left in the game that an immediate pull-out, and good weather, could technically open up the chance of Australian victory despite history books showing the best-ever Test chase being 418 by West Indies against Australia in 2002-03.


"This is a funny game and everyone has seen and played enough cricket to know that is never the case.


"We have played great cricket for three days and we deserve to be in the position we are in.


"The worst thing we can do is be complacent. There is no space for that in international sport, let alone an Ashes series. We have seen funnier things happen."


Prior dominated a fifth-wicket stand with Paul Collingwood, who also hit a half-century. The pair ran their opponents ragged after each of the top four failed to build on starts.


"The idea was to start solidly and then push on," Prior revealed. "Not necessarily boundary hitting but running ones and twos hard.


"There were some tired legs out there, so we tried to pressurise the fielders and capitalise on that as much as possible. It was upping the ante without being reckless."


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