Prior uplifted by opening riposte
Matt Prior has taken heart from the way Alastair Cook and Nick Compton fought back after India had earned a 330-run first-innings advantage in the opening Test.
In a day of two halves, England lurched from 41 for three to 191 all out by tea - as slow left-armer Pragyan Ojha claimed 5-45 and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin 3-80 - only to then move serenely to stumps on 111 without loss following on.
Skipper Cook tried to lead from the front in both innings, getting as far as 41 first time round and then an unbeaten 74 at the second attempt in an unbroken 111-run stand with debutant Compton.
Wicketkeeper Prior is struggling to make sense of events fo far, but is pinning his hopes on the belief that England have learned the errors of their ways.
“We all know our first innings was a bit of a shocker,” said Prior, whose battling 48 from number eight was England’s best first-innings score.
“As a professional sportsman, you have to look forward - and the way Compo and Cookie went about their business was absolutely fantastic.
“To end up none down at close of play, we’ll take a huge amount from that.”
Prior is both a realist and an optimist.
“We’re still behind in the game, obviously, but it gives us a lot of confidence so we can go out tomorrow and try to bat for a long period of time - which we need to do,” he said.
“I sat here two days before the Test match and said ‘It’s all very well talking - you’ve got to go out and do it’. Unfortunately, in the first innings we didn’t do it.
“I think we’re all honest enough to hold our hands up and say ’Right, we didn’t get that right’. Maybe we got a little bit too ahead of ourselves, and a bit panicky.”
Whoever makes good on the start Cook and Compton have made, Prior believes it is still feasible to eke out a draw.
“In the second innings we seemed to be a lot calmer,” he said. “There are no demons. Yes, it’s turning a bit and bouncing a bit - but you can bat out there.
“It’s certainly not a snakepit by any stretch of the imagination. There’s no point crying over spilt milk - you have to move on.
“We knew that we under-performed - no one was more frustrated than the guys sitting in the dressing room - but most importantly, we’ve gone out there (again) and we’re none down for 111.
“That’s a fantastic turnaround. We’re still in this game. We’re behind the game, but we’re still in it and fighting hard. That’s all you can do.
“If we get anything from this game, it will be a fantastic effort. But it’s not unrealistic.”