Prior surprised by criticism
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has labelled criticism of his side as "amazing" as they prepare to try and win the Ashes 4-0.
Alastair Cook's men head into the final Test of the summer against Australia at the Oval looking to secure a first-ever 4-0 scoreline over the Baggy Green.
Several pundits have suggested they have not been fully worthy of such a lead, though, pointing to a tight finish in the first Test at Trent Bridge and the rain saving England in the third at Old Trafford.
There have also been suggestions that their conduct has not been as good as it should have been, but according to Prior, England's only crime is not playing as well as they can do.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "We are in a great position going into this final Investec Ashes Test but I have found it quite amazing that we are 3-0 up in the series and have been subjected to a lot of criticism with suggestions we have been a little lucky.
"The only way you can look at this series is to admit that we have not played at our best but we have still won three Test matches and won them well."
Prior himself was picked out for treatment by Australian great Shane Warne on the eve of the last Test in Durham, with the former spinner calling him "smug".
That came amid a wave of negative publicity for the England team, who were accused of time-wasting at Old Trafford and then had members of their team photographed smoking in a Manchester street.
Prior has dismissed the flak that has been sent his side's way, though, saying they have handled it well.
He added: "It is disappointing at times when you see the criticism but from our point of view I think we have handled it impeccably.
"All the rubbish spoken before the Durham Test galvanised the team. We spoke about it in the dressing room, flushed it out and then moved on. We simply said okay it is absolute rubbish but it is there, so use it and show people what we can do.
"I think that was a good moment for us and a good bit of management.
"There have been times when England cricket teams have ignored criticism and tried to brush it off. But you cannot ignore it. With Twitter these days it is suddenly on your phone and you cannot miss what is being said.
"The best way of going about it, and I have learned this as I have become more experienced, is to accept it and put it to bed. Ignoring it does not make it go away. It is still there and you waste energy worrying about it."
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