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Prior prepared to put away pads

Sri Lanka England

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Matt Prior

Matt Prior kept wicket without pads during England's second tour game in Sri Lanka and may now adopt the same policy in Tests

Matt Prior is ready to ditch his wicketkeeping pads for good after abandoning them during England’s four-wicket warm-up victory over a Sri Lanka Development XI.

Prior was one of four England batsmen to score a half-century as the tourists successfully chased a testing target of 359 in two sessions in Colombo.

But it was in the field that he caught the eye during the game, as he decided to go bare-legged behind the stumps in a bid to combat the energy-sapping conditions.

Although it had the look of a practice-match experiment, he was so happy with the results he is considering adopting it as a regular policy.

“In these games you don’t do anything you’re not prepared to do in a Test,” he said.

“It’s pretty warm here and every little helps. These are pretty extreme conditions, with the heat and humidity, so when you’re trying to keep your energy up and run around I found it made a difference.

“It’s not something I’d rule out in England or anywhere else in the world. The game is moving and it’s changing.

“I was watching a Twenty20 match the other day and the keeper took his glove off for the last five overs so he could shy the stumps down.

“It would be silly just to think ’keepers have always worn pads’, But saying that, I haven’t been hit on the knee yet!”

Prior had no protection on his legs this time, but is considering wearing light shin guards in the future.

“You have to adapt,” he said. “You don’t need a great deal of protection, I don’t think. I’m looking to try and get something in place for a little bit of protection rather than just your shin bone.

“I don’t think there’s any law on keepers wearing pads or whether they have to be inside or outside the trousers.”

Prior top-scored in England’s chase with a dashing 84, but Ian Bell was unable to end his poor run of form, scoring just 11 in the second innings.

Bell was the only frontline batsman to miss out in this match, but Prior expects the Warwickshire man to be a big asset when the first Test begins in Galle on Monday.

“You see this kind of thing happen time and time again. It’s amazing how quickly things turn around,” he said.

“I can tell you Ian Bell is hitting the ball amazingly. He’s full of confidence going in to the Test match.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he just went and smashed a hundred in the Test because he’s getting his bad luck out of the way now.”

England did suffer a setback today when it was confirmed Ravi Bopara is suffering from a side strain and is unlikely to be fit to bowl in the series.

Fellow all-rounder Samit Patel scored 72 to press his claims, while Tim Bresnan offers a more conventional fifth bowling option.

“I don’t know how much effect the injury will have on selection but it is important to get the balance right,” said Prior.

“We’re very fortunate we have some good all-round cricketers but we have to get the balance of the team right first and then see which players fit into that.”

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