Prior backs England to respond
Matt Prior called on England to pull off another Brisbane-style escape act after they were bowled out for 192 against Pakistan in Dubai.
Last Updated: 17/01/12 4:07pm
Matt Prior called on England to pull off another Brisbane-style escape act after they were bowled out for 192 on day one against Pakistan in Dubai.
Prior's unbeaten 70 was the lone bright spot on a difficult day for the tourists that ended with Pakistan on 42-0 in reply.
Spinner Saeed Ajmal, who had touted his new "teesra" delivery in the build-up, took 7-55, including five lbws, as England were bundled out in 72.3 overs on a blameless pitch.
Prior remains positive about salvaging the situation over the course of the next four days and says top-ranked England can take heart from their exploits in last winter's Ashes opener at the Gabba.
On that occasion England earned a draw by piling up 517-1 declared second time around after conceding a first-innings deficit of 221. They went on to win the series 3-1.
"It has been a tough day, we haven't performed as we'd have wanted after winning the toss and it will be a big day tomorrow," Prior told Sky Sports.
Asked if 192 was a fair total on the pitch, he said: "I don't think so. It is a pretty good batting surface. A mixture of some poor shots and a bit of luck, which you always need on the first day of a Test match (caused the collapse).
"I am looking forward to tomorrow; it is going to be a huge day for us. We have been in this position before and have fought hard and come back. There is no reason why we can't do it again."
Ajmal claimed three wickets in five balls after being introduced in the 19th over as England crashed to 43-5.
Prior, who hit three boundaries in his 154-ball effort, forged useful stands with Eoin Morgan (24) and Graeme Swann (34) before Ajmal ran through the tail after tea.
"He has the variations, any spin bowler who spins it both ways is tricky," Prior said of Ajmal, whose "teesra" turned out to nothing more than a round-arm off-break.
"His wrist is pretty quick when he delivers the ball so it is tough to pick at times. That plays on batsmen's minds. We have to find a way of dealing with him much better than we did today."
On his own innings, Prior added: "When you come in at 43-5 it is hardly time to play a swashbuckling innings. I had to sit in and try and bat for a long time.
"I'm not worried about how many boundaries I hit. It was very important that we formed a partnership, first with Morgan and then Swanny came out. I thought Swanny played absolutely brilliantly, showed us how to play on this wicket."
Looking ahead to day two, Prior said: "First and foremost we are going to have to bowl well to bowl them out cheaply.
"It is important we don't chase the game too much, it is going to be a game of patience tomorrow.
"Of course we can come back, we've saved and won Test matches from this position before. It is nothing new to us. We all back ourselves in that dressing room and will do again tomorrow."
Ajmal plundered 50 wickets in eight Tests last year and continued where he left off.
"I'm very happy to get my career-best bowling figures today," he said.
"I just tried to maintain a line-and-length and the wickets kept coming.
"I bowled at the middle stump with a little bit lower (trajectory) in an effort to get leg-before wicket (decisions).
Ajmal is not expecting the pitch to change much over the course of the match.
"I think it will get flatter as the game goes on," he added.
"Maybe on the last day there will be some turn (but) there is not much turn here."