Andy Flower moves on from Prior incident
Andy Flower knows Matt Prior will quickly put his "freak accident" with a Lord's window pane behind him - and thinks everyone else should do the same.
The England coach was an eye witness to the incident on the final day of the drawn second npower Test against Sri Lanka, in which Prior somehow managed to break the window in the dressing room as he discarded his bat after being run out.
Flower confirmed today there was simply no intent at all on the wicketkeeper-batsman's part, although the International Cricket Council today saw fit to issue a reprimand to Prior over the incident.
"I do know him well, and he is a good man," Flower said of Prior, who immediately apologised to a female spectator who suffered minor cuts from the broken glass.
"I was there, right there, two metres away when that happened. I saw it.
"There was no real malicious intent at all."
Other than perhaps the minor lack of care and attention, universally committed by millions of batsmen as they come to terms with an aggravating dismissal, Flower insists Prior simply did not do anything wrong.
"He was a little frustrated and shoved his bat in the corner, and it knocked around and bounced off one or two other bats and hit the pane of glass," he said.
"It was a freak accident, but definitely an accident. It is a shame that people will think anything other than that.
"It is not a major incident by any stretch of the imagination, and everybody should put it behind them really.
"If there was more to it, then of course it should be taken further. But there really is not."
On the field, Flower sees no reason for significant regret either - after watching the match peter out into a stalemate yesterday on a Lord's pitch which, typically, refused to deteriorate.
He reflected with equanimity on a contest which leaves England with a 1-0 series advantage before next week's third and final Test at the Rose Bowl, and contained a clutch of notable home performances and one or two slightly less so.
Alastair Cook continued his astounding run of form with his 18th Test hundred - a sixth in 12 innings, unprecedented among Englishmen - and 202 runs in the match.
England recovered their composure, from a hapless 22 for three on the first morning, thanks to Cook's 96 - and after a lacklustre collective bowling performance, there was a welcome second-innings return to form for Kevin Pietersen.
"People reacted very well to that pressure situation. It was very impressive, excellent," said Flower.
"To get to 22 for three in the first place was not our most successful piece of batting.
"But from the position we were in, Cook, (Ian) Bell and others did an outstanding job resurrecting the innings."
When they batted again, England were again indebted to their near immovable opener - after his partner and captain Andrew Strauss fell cheaply to left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara for the second time in the match.
"I thought it was a tricky second innings," added the coach.
"When it started it was in bowler-friendly conditions, and we know Lord's changes character in those overhead conditions.
"We needed to be very good on that fourth afternoon - and I thought Cook, (Jonathan) Trott and Pietersen did really well."
Flower was especially pleased with the latter's 72.
"It was significant. I liked the determination and the way he approached that innings," he said.
"He was very selective early on, and did the right thing by the team on Monday evening by ensuring he was not out with Cook for the next day.
"In the context of the game and for the team, that innings was a good one.
"He is a class batsman, and we hope that will kickstart a great summer for him. I don't see any reason why it won't be.
"I think Kevin showed yesterday, and the evening before, how comfortably he can play left-arm spin.
"If he continues in that mode, he will be making a lot of runs against all types of bowlers."
Pietersen eventually fell to left-arm spin again, for the 20th time in Tests, but only after a major contribution and to a very good delivery.
Strauss, meanwhile, appears to be struggling against left-arm pace.
But Flower said: "Andrew has made many runs in Test cricket - and in the course of that, he has faced a lot of left-arm over, right-arm round and other bowlers.
"He has dealt with them all very skilfully.
"I don't think he has a huge technical difficulty ... you are going to get out (sometimes) in Test cricket. If a left-arm over bowler gets you out twice in a row in one match, that's life.
"I thought the ball he got in the second innings was a superb one - both were 'rippers'.
"I am not worried about it. But we all have to work on our games, and on the different angles."
* England are hoping James Anderson will be fit again in time to face Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl, having missed the Lord's Test because of a side injury.
The fast bowler is expected to be named in the squad but will then be out to prove his fitness in Lancashire's FriendsLife Twenty20 match at Worcestershire on Sunday.
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