Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Draw Is of No Use to Us, Says Wicketkeeper; Series Victory Is All That Matters to England Now

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Draw Is of No Use to Us, Says Wicketkeeper; Series Victory Is All That Matters to England Now

Article excerpt

ENGLAND are determined to finish what they started in South Africa and will be happy with nothing less than a series victory after the Wanderers Test, according to Matt Prior.

The wicketkeeper-batsman last night warned there will be no hint of a "comfort zone" for Andrew Strauss' tourists, as they acclimatise to altitude again after three weeks at sea level in preparation for Thursday's final match of four.

That adjustment is a crucial one to Prior, who must retune his lung capacity and reactions to the rarefied atmosphere. All his efforts will be to one end, though - to make sure England convert their hardfought 1-0 lead into a winning margin over hosts who were ranked number one in the world until shortly before the series began.

Prior was not referring to the Highveld conditions when he said: "This is nowhere near a comfort zone. We didn't come here to draw a series; we came here to win one."

That much has been made clear publicly and privately by England since, for the second time in three Tests, they held on last week in Cape Town with nine wickets down to deny South Africa victory. "The coach had a long chat with us this morning and was pretty adamant on that," added Prior. "We don't want to be the nearly men. We want to be guys that go back saying, 'we've had a fantastic winter - we won the one-dayers and we've won the Test series', not, 'we nearly won the Test series'.

"Watching the guys train, everyone has taken that on board. This team is going out to win this Test match, not to hang on to a draw or try to scrape through. If we can go back 2-0, that would be a dream come true for all of us."

If the dream is realised England are likely to have to win rather than merely draw the last Test. Another stalemate is no good to their hosts, who have made no secret of the fact a 'result' pitch will be prepared - at a venue where pace can often prevail on a bouncy surface.

Unqualified success in South Africa, to add to last summer's Ashes victory, would make England the most upwardly mobile of all the current Test nations. …

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