England head for match-winning lead in second Ashes test

Matt Prior signalled England's determination to learn from their mistakes by leading a ruthless drive towards a match-winning lead in the second Ashes Test.

England's wicketkeeper-batsman hit a superb 61 off only 42 balls and typified the desire to capitalise on their dominance over Australia having failed to do so earlier in the match.

Prior's brilliant innings, which included nine boundaries, helped England progress into a daunting 521-run lead at the end of the third day at Lord's after reaching a commanding 311 for six.

His rapid-fire contribution set the tone for a fast accumulation of runs to make amends from their disappointing first innings display, when they failed to build on a 196-run opening stand and were dismissed for 425.

Already Australia know they must eclipse the world record total for a final innings to win a Test of 418 for seven recorded by West Indies against them in Antigua in 2002-3 if they are to overhaul England's lead in the final two days.

They will also be aware they may need nearly 200 runs more than the highest successful winning final innings total at Lord's of 344 for one set by West Indies against England in 1984 to secure a shock victory.

But a more realistic objective is to bat out the remaining two days of the Test and salvage a draw despite being dominated for the majority of the match - just as England did during the opening Test in Cardiff.

Australia had begun the day looking for damage limitation having slumped to 156 for eight overnight and enjoyed frustrating England's attack for a further 14 overs with Nathan Hauritz and Peter Siddle forging a 44-run stand off 64 balls.

Their resistance was broken by Durham seamer Graham Onions, who was contentiously preferred to county team-mate Steve Harmison, during a spell of two for nine in his three overs to leave Australia with a 210-run deficit.

Given the option of enforcing the follow on, England captain Andrew Strauss chose to bat on in good conditions in an attempt to score quick runs, increase the pressure on Australia and set the tone of intent.

That was certainly demonstrated during a blistering opening stand with Alastair Cook of 61 off only 85 balls which signalled England's intentions to score as many runs as possible in a short space of time.

The vibrant stand was halted after lunch with off-spinner Hauritz continuing a theme for Cook in this series when he was given lbw playing across the line while Strauss fell in his next over when he drove at a delivery which turned out of the footmarks and was caught at slip.

It brought together Ravi Bopara and Kevin Pietersen, two batsmen struggling for different reasons, and neither found their fluency during a 73-run partnership which looked fragile throughout its existence.

Essex batsman Bopara has struggled for runs ever since the opposition changed from a steady diet of the West Indies to the more challenging Australians and never looked comfortable during his innings of 27 spanning more than two hours at the crease.

He was given a reprieve on nine when he edged Siddle straight to Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who put down a regulation chance, and on 19 pulled Mitchell Johnson from outside off-stump to Hauritz at mid-on but survived when third umpire Nigel Llong ruled the catch had not carried.

His determined if not fluent knock ended when he pushed Hauritz to Simon Katich at short leg shortly after tea to end a painful partnership with Pietersen of 73 which included only six boundaries between them.

Pietersen seemed to struggle more on fitness grounds than any question about his talent or temperament and noticeably limped throughout his innings, raising fresh concerns about his ability to last the course of the npower series following his long-standing Achilles problems.

He fell six overs after Bopara with an inside edge off Siddle which flew to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to set the stage for Prior's thrilling contribution to England's daunting lead.

Aided by the swift and busy running between the wickets of Paul Collingwood, Prior looked at home from the start and dominated their 86-run stand off only 74 balls which threatened to visibly drained Australia's morale.

Prior looked so composed at the crease he seemed certain to emulate his century on his Test debut at Lord's two years ago against West Indies, but called for a quick two after pushing Ben Hilfenhaus past point only to be defeated by a direct throw from the deep by Marcus North.

His ovation as he walked back to the Pavillion merged with that given to Andrew Flintoff as he strode out for his final Test innings at Lord's, who responded to the occasion by hitting a quickfire 30 off 27 balls as England closed in on a declaration.

Perhaps influenced by the deteriorating light, Strauss delayed the decision and had it taken out of his hands when rain halted play after Collingwood had edged Siddle behind with 10.4 overs remaining.

England had added 181 runs in just 30.2 overs in the final session and set out their intent, but having been in similar positions against Sri Lanka (2006) and South Africa (2008) and failed to win they will know they still face a major battle before to secure a priceless Ashes lead.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower