Nottingham:Even though the England players have been unable to get under the skin of the Indians with their verbal volleys, they have been going about what Steve Waugh used to describe as 'mental disintegration' rather passionately.
As if the unsavoury events on the fourth day of the Lord's Test was not enough, there was a fair bit of 'sledging' from the England players on the third day of the second Test while the Indian batsmen pressed home the advantage with some resolute batting.
However, England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who has been the main culprit in a war of words with the Indians, did not believe that there was anything wrong in that.
"That comes with the territory. It's Test cricket, it's a hard game, we all want to win, we are all trying to win so you are going to have your banter, but no one overstepped the mark," said Prior defending his actions.
"The game is played hard but it's played in the right spirit and I think that is important. I do enjoy it. It's part of the game and if you don't enjoy it then you're going to struggle," he added.
Prior said the batting side always face such treatment from the fielding side who try to build pressure on the willowers.
"It's never nice when you bat and there are 11 blokes around you giving you a barrage. The importance of 11 people hunting together on the pitch and creating an intensity and an environment that is uncomfortable for people to bat in is very important," Prior said.
Prior's constant chatting had upset Indian opener Dinesh Kaarthick at Lord's following which his partner Sourav Ganguly debated the issue with England captain Michael Vaughan, who threw his weight behind his wicketkeeper.
"We are trying to play our cricket with a real intensity about it and that involves being a little bit aggressive," said Vaughan.
"It's not untoward in the game of cricket, we are just trying to hit the pitch hard and hit the right areas and try and really rally around in the field - it's nothing that we haven't done in the past, it's just something we are doing well at the minute," he added.
Interestingly, Prior had done his homework - as he acknowledged in his column - as he tried to upset Kaarthick by saying 'Let's get the entertainer' and 'Dhoni wouldn't have played that shot' since he knew that the two might be competing for one spot if the Indian batting continued to struggle.
on Sunday, Prior continued with his agenda but without much success. But towards the end of the Indian innings it was an angry exchange of words between Kevin Pietersen and Zaheer Khan that turned on the heat.
Part of sport
However, Ganguly reckoned that nothing that happened was 'unpleasant'. In fact, he rightly described it as a part of international sport.
"It does get intense in Test cricket, it's happened in the past as well. It happens when both the teams are competing to win, I am sure it is going to happen in the future as well," explained Ganguly.
"I have not seen anything that I will say will sour the series. It is been a hard-fought series thus far. There was a bit of noise at Lord's as well but that has become part and parcel of the sport," he added.
Ganguly said almost every team adopted the same tactics to get the opposition batsmen under pressure.
"Sometimes you do this to put pressure on the opposition, sometimes you do it to keep your own teammates going, and I have not heard anything unpleasant or rude," he said.