Matt Prior sees "no demons" in the pitch as England fight to save first Test against India

Last Updated: 18/11/12 2:23pm

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Matt Prior: England wicketkeeper top scored in first innings with 48

Matt Prior: England wicketkeeper top scored in first innings with 48

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Matt Prior says the performance of England's openers in the evening session on day three has given the tourists' confidence that they can save the first Test against India.

England were asked to follow-on in Ahmedabad after conceding a first-innings deficit of 330 but closed on 111-0 second time around - still 219 behind - thanks to Alastair Cook (74no) and Nick Compton (34no).

"We all know that our first innings was a bit of a shocker, to lose wickets quickly is always disappointing," said wicketkeeper Prior, who was last out for 48 in his side's first-innings of 191.

"There are no demons (in the pitch). Yes, it is turning and bouncing a bit but you can bat periods of time out there."
Matt Prior

"As a professional sportsman you have to look forward and look at taking positives from a day. The way Compo and Cookie went about their business this afternoon was absolutely fantastic.

"To end up none down at the close of play... We take a huge amount from that.

"We are still behind in the game but we take a huge amount of confidence that we can go out tomorrow and try and bat for a long period of time, which we obviously need to do."

India spinners Pragyan Ojha (5-45) and Ravichandran Ashwin (3-80) shared eight wickets as England slumped to 191 all out in reply to India's 521-8 declared.

On what went wrong, Prior said: "Everyone was very keen to get into this Test match, the batters wanted to get out there and prove a point, we knew the wicket was going to turn a bit.

"I think we got a little bit too ahead of ourselves and a bit panicky, whereas in the second innings we seemed to be a lot calmer.

"There are no demons (in the pitch). Yes, it is turning and bouncing a bit but you can bat periods of time out there."

Weakness

Left-arm spinner Ojha bowled Kevin Pietersen and had Ian Bell caught at mid-off with successive deliveries in the morning session.

Of Pietersen, Ojha said: "He has a weakness against left-arm spin. But I won't be taking him easy in this series, because he's a very good batsman."

As for Bell, he added: "I think when you're playing a five-day Test, and a batsman comes at you like that the very first delivery, it's a very encouraging thing as a spinner."

Prior defended Bell's shot selection and expects him to come good in the second innings.

"Belly is one of the finest batters at hitting over the top that I know, and the one thing we talk about is playing your own game and backing yourself," said Prior.

"Only Belly will know the plan he had ... and it didn't come off.

"These are the fine lines in sport. It doesn't come off, and it doesn't look great admittedly.

"But you cannot question the quality and class of a batsman like Ian Bell. We all know, and hope he's going to show it.

"There's no point sulking. He knows he probably got it slightly wrong. But we've got a big second innings coming up, and I'm sure he'll be as motivated as any of our batters to get a big score."

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