Matt Prior: Siddle annoyed me but I didn't challenge him to a punch-up
Ashes Insider: Losing is a hammer blow of course but we will leave the defeat in Perth
Tuesday 21 December 2010
Well, that wasn't quite we had in mind. We came from Adelaide holding all the cards and we have certainly handed a few back by being beaten so heavily in Perth.
But in dissecting the third Test in all its aspects you have to look at it logically and say that we are still in a good place on this tour. We are going to the MCG on Boxing Day at 1-1, and if somebody had offered us that at the beginning of the tour we would have taken it.
A couple of bad days at the beginning of the match – and they were bad days – doesn't make this a poor team. A week ago we were talking about having played the perfect Test match and everything was rosy. But when you get ahead you want to stay ahead and that's the most disappointing thing.
We have to dust ourselves down and stay away from the rubbish. It's very easy to panic and start going, "Right, this bloke out, this bloke in ... he's ineffective, he's struggling". You have to shut your mind to all that. It's a time when as an individual you must have belief in your own ability and in the team.
The opposition are allowed to play well. Mitchell Johnson returned to their side and surprised us with the way he brought the ball back but we didn't adjust quickly enough. You talk in any sport about adapting quickly to the situation and we didn't.
Everything we had set up to play him was the ball going across and not necessarily coming back but you have to respect an opponent and you have to know in the back of your mind that he could bring it back. I came in at 98 for 5 in the first innings and what happened an hour later has been the subject of some discussion. What has been written and said has been a distortion of events that will stay on the field.
Peter Siddle, the Australian fast bowler, had launched a short-pitched round-the-wicket attack. He got me out – luckily, maybe, as the ball trickled off my body on to the stumps, but out still. As I left he said something which annoyed me. It doesn't matter what he said but once you have dismissed somebody you have done the job on them.
There are not many boxing matches when a guy knocks someone out and then kicks him while he's on the floor. That isn't the way it works. I didn't enjoy him getting me out but I don't think there was a need for him to say anything after that. Having said that I didn't need to react in the way I did.
You might have seen a gesture followed by some words. What has been reported that I said is not true. I didn't offer to take him into the car park or offer to fight him after the game. I didn't say anything along those lines. I will stick by the way I play the game. I play it hard on the pitch but that's where it stays.
There has been a lot spoken about sledging in the game and how they have upped the ante. It's not an issue. There was not, from our point of view, any more or any less than in any other Ashes Test and if there was it was all in the spirit of the game.
It's Ashes Test cricket. The way the Australians see it, that's what they expect to happen, that's how the game is played. There would be something wrong if there wasn't that competitive will to win for your country.
It is being pumped up but it's irrelevant. If I saw Peter Siddle right now I would go over and talk about cricket and have a beer with him. I saw a couple of the Aussies the night after the match. There will be a lot said about it but it's not the way I want to be remembered, and it's not the way Peter Siddle will want to be remembered. What is important is how we play.
I am delighted with how I am playing as wicketkeeper.
While I don't think I was ever as bad a keeper as was sometimes reported, you have to hold your hands up, and I did drop a few catches.
But the work I have put in is really coming to fruition now. The footwork is good, I'm covering a lot of distance, the left hand is working pretty well.
Losing is a hammer blow of course but we will leave the defeat in Perth. Look at the facts of the situation, it's 1-1. If we win one game we retain the Ashes. But we intend to win the series.
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