Prior grateful for Australian grace over back injury

Matt Prior last night thanked Australia for granting him the few minutes' grace that made the difference between playing in the fourth Test and being forced to miss it.

England's wicketkeeper suffered a back spasm while jogging during a warm-up game of football yesterday morning and, but for Australia agreeing to delay the toss by 10 minutes, Prior would almost certainly have been left off the team sheet because of uncertainty over his fitness.

"I think those extra 10 minutes allowed me to play," said Prior, who ended up top-scoring – albeit with only 37 not out as England were rattled out for 102. "I was obviously very thankful to the Aussies and it was very good of them."

Prior's late problem capped a day of disruption for England, who were not only forced to concede that Andrew Flintoff was not fit enough to play but also found themselves on the street at 5am following a fire alarm in their hotel.

"There have been a number of things you could say were distractions but that is no excuse," Prior said. "We've all played enough cricket and are big enough, old enough and experienced enough to be able to adapt and get on with the job.

"As for the fire alarm I think anyone would be slightly miffed at 5am standing in the rain with no shoes on, but it's not an excuse. It was just a few grumpy people moaning they had been woken up."

Prior admitted to "punching the air" when Andrew Strauss won the toss and chose to bat, believing that he might he able to spend all day recuperating in the changing room. Instead, having taken anti-inflammatory tablets and been given a pain-killing injection "in the butt" he found himself walking out to bat 30 minutes before lunch – and then keeping wicket well before tea.

"I had a back spasm a couple of years ago and I knew from that experience that if I didn't play I would probably be right as rain in 24 hours and then absolutely gutted I hadn't gone through a bit of stress," Prior sais.

"It's not been a good day for us but we can certainly get out of it. The Aussies bowled well and put the ball in the right area often enough. But the guys will hold their hands up and say maybe there were some dismissals we could have avoided. But we've got the bowlers to turn it around and when we get our chance to go in again there will be some very determined batsmen."

Stuart Clark, Australia's leading wicket-taker during the whitewash series of 2006-07 but playing his first match of this campaign, was straight back in the groove yesterday, finishing with 3 for 18 from 10 overs.

"It would have been a distraction for England with all the talk about whether or not Andrew Flintoff was going to play, then the fire alarm and Matt Prior's back problem," said Clark. "And we actually hit one of their coaching staff [Mark Saxby] with the ball doing high catches so it all sort of went in our favour.

"It's a tough job for their captain [Andrew Strauss] – he's got to concentrate on opening the batting as well and all this other stuff is going on which he needs to be involved in and make decisions about. I imagine his thoughts may have been a tad scrambled."

England, meanwhile, stressed that their fast bowler Jimmy Anderson is injury-free, despite appearing to hurt his left leg while sprinting for a single yesterday.

But they have conceded that Flintoff may need another operation on his right knee – though not until after the Ashes series. He remains determined to finish his Test career by playing at The Oval.

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
footballBut the Newcastle United midfielder's news has 'left his mistress furious'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style