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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 December 2007, 08:38 GMT
Matt Prior column
Matt Prior
By Matt Prior
England wicket-keeper

While the first Test against Sri Lanka in Kandy was ultimately disappointing, I can honestly say the mood in the England camp remains buoyant.

Matt Prior
When you're a kid batting in the playground, it's always the greats you imagine facing... so to face a legend like Muttiah Muralitharan was a real privilege for me

Matt Prior

It goes without saying that we didn't want to go one down in the series, but there is a huge amount the team can take away from the way we performed and, with two Tests left, we can still come away with a series win.

In Kandy, we dominated the opening couple of days and went agonisingly close to saving the match so, with a bit more luck and an improvement here and there, we know we have what it takes to be successful here.

For a start, Ian Bell was absolutely brilliant throughout the Test. He really has hit the ground running in this series and is the one we can all take a lead from.

And from an individual point of view, I thoroughly enjoyed batting on the final day and loved every minute of the challenge.

When you're growing up as a kid and batting in the playground, it's always the greats you imagine facing.

For me, that meant the likes of Allan Donald or Curtly Ambrose, and so to go out in a Test and face a legend like Muttiah Muralitharan - the greatest wicket-taker ever - was a real privilege.


I've said before that I tried to use my break before this series positively, and the most pleasing thing about my knock on day five was that the things I'd worked on were realised out in the middle.

You do all that work back in England, in a room of coaches, physios, psychologists or whatever, but until you're out in the middle it's all talk, so it was pleasing that my hard work paid off to an extent.

The flip side of what was a pleasing knock for me, though, was the media duties that followed!

Some people who don't know me might assume I'm brash or arrogant because of the way I try to approach my cricket, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

Speaking with the media is something that comes with the job, but it's not something I welcome really - I would much rather concentrate on working on my game and trying to do my best for England out on the pitch.

What made it worse for me - but funnier for all my mates back home probably - was a few photos I had to do posing on the Sri Lankan coast at sunset.

Matt Prior
I've no doubt at all I will be hearing about that when I get home!

Prior on his 'Baywatch' photos

My word, it was shocking. They had me sitting on a rock, pulling a pose, and even running through the ocean surf like some poor David Hasselhoff impersonator.

I've no doubt at all I will be hearing about that when I get home!

Still, it's something that comes with the job and if that's the result of my putting in good performances and England doing well, I'll take it every time.

Now the lads' focus is 100% on coming away from Colombo with a win to set up a finale in the last Test in Galle.

We had a day off the day after the last Test finished, though even then the entire squad were in the gym, and first thing in the morning the next day everybody was hitting their straps full on again.

The work ethic of this squad really is second to none and when the effort being put in is as good and unrelenting as ours, then special things can happen.

We know that if we keep working hard and keep working smartly, the performances and ultimately the results will come.

We're all determined to ensure the England fightback starts in earnest first thing Sunday morning

Matt Prior

We have a couple of injuries and niggles at the moment, but this is the ultimate squad effort out here and everyone is backing each other up and supporting each other.

These are the sort of matches and series we thrive on and we know exactly what we have to do and what lies ahead for us.

The England unit is as strong as ever and we're confident we have the ability to turn this series on its head.

That is something we can absolutely do - and we're all determined to ensure the fightback starts in earnest first thing Sunday morning.

  • Matt Prior was speaking to Sam Lyon.

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