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Prior takes pride in Ashes ton

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Matt Prior

Matt Prior pours salt into Australian wounds this morning with a fine 109-ball century - his fourth in Tests but his first in an Ashes series

Matt Prior relished the “very special feeling” of his first Ashes hundred after becoming England’s third centurion in the final Ashes Test at the SCG.

Prior built on the impressive work of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell with a dashing 118 as the tourists racked up a mammoth 644 - their highest total on Australian soil.

England were on the brink of another innings victory - and a 3-1 series win - by the time stumps were drawn on day four, with Australia 151 runs in arrears on 213 for seven.

Asked about his century, a delighted Prior said: “I was batting with Trotty (Jonathan Trott) in Melbourne when he got his and he came to me in the middle of the wicket and said ‘this is the best feeling in cricket’.

"I would have to agree. It’s a very special feeling and I will treasure it.”

Prior came to the crease yesterday evening with England 380 for six and admitted his task had been made easier by the efforts of his fellow batsmen.

Spanning just 109 deliveries, his century was the quickest by an Englishman in the Ashes since 1981.

“I think you have to adapt at times," Prior added. “With the way Cooky and Belly played, the stage was set to come out and play positively.

“The ball was pretty old and their bowlers were obviously quite tired as well with being in the field for a long time, so it was a time to take the initiative and be more attacking, ride your luck and see where you get to.

Matt Prior

Prior puts in the hard yards, which have paid such dividends, ahead of this winter's hugely successful conquest Down Under

“I started the series with not much luck and have ended up with a whole load of it.

“Sometimes it’s just not your day, sometimes it is. I’ve said throughout the whole series that I’ve been playing well and feeling good in the nets. I just needed a few things to go my way and fortunately they have towards the end of the tour.”

Prior enjoyed further success with the gloves as Australia set about overhauling a first-innings deficit of 364, claiming four catches to take his series tally to 22.

“I’m not really that worried about individual stats,” he said modestly. “The team is in a great place and we’ve had another fantastic day. The Ashes are coming home; I’m just really chuffed.”

Despite his undoubted delight, Prior revealed he takes equal pleasure from being part of this history-making England side.

"It was obviously a great moment in England (to win the Ashes in England last year), but to come over here knowing the history, knowing that it’s been 24 years since we last won here - there’s obviously a reason for that," he said.

"The amount of hard work and preparation that has gone into this tour all sort of comes out today and obviously tomorrow.

"It’s a fantastic feeling. Being out there today, the support, the Barmy Army were again absolutely fantastic.

"To be there with your mates on the field, as I said, with all the hard work that has gone in, the preparation, training, planning, it just makes it all that sweeter."

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