KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Home Prior: 'England must push for victory
Centurion Matt Prior stressed the importance of finishing India off in the the opening Test at Lord's, but stressed England would have to be patient on the final day.
Prior made a superb counter-attacking century on day four against India, rescuing England from 62-5 and pushing them to a declaration lead of 458.
The Sussex wicket-keeper batsman, who's 103 not out came from just 120 balls, played against India at Lord's in 2007 when England finished one wicket short of victory on the final day.
'Get the job done'
They went on to lose that series 1-0 and Prior agreed that taking advantage of their current position was of the uppermost importance.
He said: "It’s very important to get the job done.
"Test wins, especially against quality opposition, don’t come about very often but we’ve put ourselves in a very good position and it’ll be hugely frustrating to not back that up and go through with it."
India reached 80-1 by the close on day four though, with Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman looking comfortable at the crease.
Prior, 29, admitted that it would be a difficult task on a evenly paced surface to take another nine wickets, but believes England are in a good position to force a win.
"I think we’re probably just ahead but there’s still probably a lot of runs on that wicket. There are no devils in the wicket, it’s a good deck." Prior added.
"We can’t think too far ahead. I think the really important thing is to come in tomorrow and think about winning the first half an hour, the first hour and go from there.
"If you start thinking ‘we’ve got to win this Test,’ you can build up unnecessary pressure.
"If we just do what we’ve done for the last two years, bowl good areas, keep it very, very basic in the field and keep our intensity high then I’m sure we’ll have a good day."
Prior's century was his third at Lord's and sixth in 44 Test matches and he is now the leading Test run scorer as a wicket-keeper at the Home of Cricket, passing Alec Stewart.
Prior added: "Lord's is a special place, and I think to have made my debut here and started well always sets you off on the right foot.
"I always love coming back here and I think ultimately I’ve had a bit of luck! I’ve enjoyed batting on this wicket and sometimes things just happen that way."
Learning the slope
While Prior was playing his eighth Test at the Home of Cricket, Ishant Sharma is in his first.
After a wicketless first innings display in which he admitted struggling with the famous Lord's slope, the young seamer hit his rhythm in the second innings, switching to the Nursery End to pick up 4-59.
He put his change in fortunes down to advice from injured teammate Zaheer Khan, who tipped him off about counteracting the idiosyncrasies of Lord's.
"In the first innings I wasn’t used to the slope - it was the first time I’ve played a Test match at Lord’s and I didn’t known how to use the slope." said Sharma.
_"In the second innings I spoke to Zak (Zaheer) about the slope and he gave me good advice.
I think the way I bowled in the second innings I’m very happy about it._
"The thing about the slope is that my natural ball is the in swinger and the ball held its line naturally so I didn’t know whether the old ball was going to hold it’s line.
"What Zak told me is that I should bowl from the Nursery End. In the first innings I preferred to bowl from the Pavilion End and I went the way I wanted to bowl.
"But in the second innings I went the way he wanted to bowl and it helped me a lot."