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Last Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
Prior shines in England run spree
FIRST NPOWER TEST, LORD'S:
England 553-5 v West Indies (stumps, day two)

By Oliver Brett

Ian Bell congratulates Matt Prior on his maiden Test century
Ian Bell congratulates Matt Prior on his maiden Test century

Matt Prior became the first England wicket-keeper to hit a century on Test debut as England made West Indies toil on the second day at Lord's.

Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood also made tons after Alastair Cook's on Thursday.

It was the first time since 1938 that four Englishmen had reached three figures in one innings of a Test.

Eventually, England reached 553-5 when, having turned down the offer of bad light, Bell and Prior had to walk off when the umpires ruled against them.

Prior's innings was a superbly confident display and vindicated his debatable selection for the side.

Many had felt he was elevated above other candidates having been a disciple of new coach Peter Moores when Moores had been at Sussex.

Although he came in with England in a strong position at 363-5, it was his clean hitting all the way through his innings that caught the eye.

Bell was on 56 when Prior came to the wicket, but the debutant was the first of the two to reach three figures in a stand of 190.

Matt Prior's wagon wheel

He pulled all the seamers, who were intent on testing him with bouncers, and looked equally at ease against the spinners.

Prior's front-foot cover-driving also looked in good order as he cruised past Jack Russell's 94 against Sri Lanka in 1984, eventually hitting his 105th ball faced, off Chris Gayle, for the four that brought him his century.

The first period of the day, played under cloudless skies, featured some impressive bowling by West Indies.

Cook adding just three runs to his overnight 102 in England's 200-3 did not last long, cutting Jerome Taylor to point.

But Taylor was also at the centre of three incidents - all of which should have ended Collingwood's innings in the 30s.

First he edged a drive to off Taylor to Daren Ganga at gully. The chance came at head height, but the West Indies vice-captain parried it onto the turf.

Umpire Asad Rauf was Collingwood's next saviour, declining a Taylor lbw appeal off a ball that would have sent off-stump cartwheeling.

Finally, Collingwood attempted a pull shot off Corey Collymore which ballooned down to Taylor at fine leg.

The fielder made a complete mess of the chance, barely getting his fingertips to the ball, and Collingwood finally dispensed with any further favours.

P Collingwood
Collingwood profited from two dropped catches early on Friday

Bell took 17 balls to get off the mark but eventually put on 144 with Collingwood for the fourth wicket.

The afternoon session, even with the new ball taken, provided easy pickings for the two right-handers.

Bell brought up the 300 with a cover drive for four off Collymore, before Collingwood moved into the 70s by cutting Daren Powell to the point fence.

The hundred partnership came courtesy of another Collingwood off-side four off Powell before Taylor provided both batsmen with boundary opportunities which they did not spurn.

Collingwood reached his century with a controlled steer through the slips, just trickling up the slope in front of the MCC members.

The Durham man finally succumbed when Bravo found a bit of extra pace from somewhere to hit the corner of his off-stump.

Bell played second fiddle to the electric Prior in the final session, reaching his century in almost muted style with a gentle push through midwicket for one.

He ended the day on 109, Prior rattling past him to be 126. But their fun may well be cut short by an overnight declaration.

SEE ALSO
Cook hundred puts England on top
17 May 07 |  England


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