Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Can Win It, Says Prior; Wicketkeeper Backs England after Swann Strikes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Can Win It, Says Prior; Wicketkeeper Backs England after Swann Strikes

Article excerpt

WICKETKEEPER Matt Prior has backed England to complete their first victory of 2012 and hold on to their world number one spot.

Having lost all four Tests since the turn of the year, an ominous fifthwicket stand of 90 between Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera looked to be taking the second Test against Sri Lanka away from them too. But Graeme Swann took two wickets in a sensational penultimate over, finding big turn to bowl Samaraweera and then Suraj Randiv for a duck.

That left the hosts 218 for six - a lead of 33 - with England in the ascendancy. Jayawardene remains in place on 55, with dangerous all-rounder Angelo Mathews also at the crease, but Prior is confident of wrapping up the win.

"If you'd have given us them leading by 30-odd and being six down when we lost the toss on the first day, we'd definitely have taken that," he said.

"We're reluctant to think we're just going to roll them over, because it's still a good wicket and we have four very big wickets to get. Hopefully we can get them quickly and walk through them, but that's not what we're expecting.

"We hope to keep the run chase down, but whatever they set us we would back ourselves to get.

"Whatever they set us tomorrow, whether it's a small total or a big total, we back ourselves to get it."

Only victory will keep England top of the ICC's Test rankings, a goal they worked hard to attain and are not minded to lose without a fight.

"That is important," said Prior. "From an individual point of view every bloke in that dressing room wants to stay number one. We do want to be the best team in the world and we want to prove that we are.

"But it's not something that will play on our minds. We want to win this Test match because you want to win every Test match."

England were hoping to knock nightwatchman Dhammika Prasad over early, but he quickly became a bigger problem than regular opener Lahiru Thirimanne.

Swann came on after six overs and soon had Thirimanne in strife. Prior missed a simple stumping, but it did not cost England as the opener guided James Anderson to slip for 11. …

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