There are no devils in the wicket: Prior

Matt Prior scored a quick century to to get give England a big lead of 457 at Lord’s but warned that they still have plenty of work to do on the final day.

England, who at one time were 62 for five due to a stunning spell from Ishant Sharma, were boosted by Prior’s 103 not out and Stuart Broad’s 74 not out.

India closed on 80-1 in deep trouble with some 378 runs needed for an unlikely win.

Matt Prior said, “I think we’re probably just ahead but there are still a lot of runs in that wicket.”

“There are no devils in the wicket, it’s still a pretty good deck. There are a huge amount of runs there, certainly when the ball gets a bit older.

“Graeme Swann’s going to play a huge part for us tomorrow and there is a lot of hard work ahead. India’s batting line-up is pretty strong and the ball might not be swinging around and seaming around like the first innings.

“We might go an hour without taking a wicket but hopefully we’ll have one of those silly hours where we’ll take three or four.”

Prior said that he was not expecting to be batting before lunch.

“I wasn’t really expecting to be batting before lunch. I was looking at the menu and thinking ‘I’ll have the rack of lamb, that’ll be nice’ and then there I was taking guard!” he explained.

“The first thing was to try and build a partnership, settle everything down because the crowd was noisy, the Indian fielders were up for it and Ishant was bowling very well.

“I felt pretty nervous walking out today to be honest. But what’s not to love about it (Lord’s).

“It’s a flat deck, a quick outfield and the sun always shines on me whenever I walk out to bat. I made my debut here and I always love coming back.”

Sharma, who returned 4-59 after going wicketless in the first two days, said that he was not using the slope in the first innings but speaking to Zaheer Khan about it helped him in the second innings.

“In the first innings I was not used to the slope, it is my first Test match at Lord’s and I didn’t know how to use it,” he said.

“I spoke to Zaheer (Khan) about it and he helped me a lot to learn about the slope.

“The way I bowled in the second innings, I felt really happy. If I could have bowled similar lengths in the first innings maybe we could have been in a different position.”

India are hopeful Gautam Gambhir, who was struck on the elbow with a powerful sweep from Prior, will be okay to bat in the morning as there are no breaks.

Sachin Tendulkar is likely to bat lower down after he missed two sessions in the field with a viral infection.

Brief scores:

  • England 1st innings 474/8 in 131.4 overs decl. (Kevin Pietersen 202, M Prior 71, Praveen Kumar 5/106)
  • India 1st innings  286 all out in 95.5 overs  (Rahul Dravid 103*, Abhinav Mukund 49, Stuart Broad 4/37, C Tremlett 3/80)
  • England 2nd innings  269/6 in 71 overs decl. (Matt Prior 103*, Stuart Broad 74*, Ishant Sharma 4/59)
  • India 2nd innings 80/1 in 27 overs (R Dravid 34*, VVS Laxman 32*)

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