Cook smashes century, Prior smashes window

England draw Test but keeper's antics ensure the real excitement is off the pitch

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Matt Prior, the England wicketkeeper, escaped censure yesterday after breaking a window and showering MCC members with fragments of glass during the drawn second Test match against Sri Lanka at Lord's.

The incident – which resulted in a female spectator sustaining a small cut to her ankle but could have been much more serious – prompted not one but two explanations from the team's media officer and followed Prior's dismissal in mid-afternoon.

The most telling comments, however, came from England captain Andrew Strauss, who insisted there was no intent by Prior but accepted the incident had "potentially dangerous" consequences. "It was a complete accident," said Strauss. "I don't think he realised at the time there were people below but when that hits home it hits you pretty hard and he wanted to go down and apologise. That was the right thing for him to do and thankfully no-one was seriously injured."

Having scored a fine century in the first innings of the match, Prior was run out for only four yesterday after being sent back by partner Ian Bell while England were looking for quick runs to set up a declaration.

How much Prior's annoyance at getting out contributed to a window in England's dressing room being broken soon after his return to the pavilion remained open to debate last night.

The first explanation from England's spokesman went like this: "There were bats resting on the window pane in the dressing room. A glove was thrown by Matt Prior into a kit bag, the glove ricocheted into the bats and that broke the glass."

Prior would not have been the first player to have taken out his anger on a bit of kit with unfortunate consequences, but the spokesman was soon back with a revised version of events – obtained this time after speaking to England coach Andy Flower.

"Prior put his bat on the ledge where the wall meets the window – the bat handle bounced off the wall and into the glass, and the glass broke," said the media man.

By the time all this had been (sort of) cleared up, so had the fragments of glass from the seating area below England's dressing room. And Prior was back on the field – though not before he had apologised to the spectator.

"He spoke to her," said Strauss. "The spectators appreciated he apologised. It's not a great situation, and I'm not going to be encouraging my players to break windows in a hurry."

Prior, 29, could have been in trouble with his team's management, the Lord's hierarchy and International Cricket Council match referee Javagal Srinath if any or all of them had thought the incident resulted from a temper tantrum. "Unfortunate accident" appeared to be the unanimous verdict last night, however.

"It was a genuine accident," added Strauss. "I was on the balcony but a lot of guys were in the dressing room and he wasn't meaning to throw anything at the window so the case is closed."

It's just not cricket: Others who lost their cool

Mike Gatting

After once being being run out at Lord's, an angry Gatting put his hand through the dressing room door. He was taken to hospital and had to have more than 20 stitches.

Michael Atherton

On the 1995-96 tour of South Africa, the England captain took it out on a hefty pair of scales after falling foul to a particularly bad umpiring decision in Port Elizabeth. Unfortunately, Atherton came off worse and broke the big toe on his right foot.

Nasser Hussain

Another run out, this time at Trinidad's Queen's Park Oval, and Hussain put his fist through one of the dressing room's locker doors.

Mark Ramprakash

The Surrey batsman let fly at captain Adam Hollioake's helmet after being run out at The Oval. The grill was so out of shape that another had to be brought out to the middle when Hollioake tried to bat.

Ricky Ponting

Once again a victim of a run-out, the Australia captain reportedly threw his box across the Ahmedabad dressing room, only for it to ricochet and break a TV.