Gary Ballance Blog: Roll-on Headingley after highlight of my career

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To score my first Test century at Lord’s in just my second Test Match is certainly my best achievement in my career so far and to do so at the home of cricket is so special and a great feeling, I’m very proud.

I’m not usually one to show emotion like I did in my celebration but it’s not the kind of thing you can plan to do, it just happens at the time. Looking back I maybe think I went too far but it was just a great feeling and it’s a moment you build your whole career towards so to get yourselves in that situation it is hard to describe.

It was just important to get the team into a good position so we could go for the win the next day without having to worry about Sri Lanka being able to chase the score down. I knew I had to leave as well as I could and then pull a few shots out, especially towards the end of the innings so from a personal point of view it is nice to get that score in a Test Match and gain some confidence.

To be fair, Sri Lanka bowled really well in that session after lunch and picked up some wickets so we were in a bit of trouble despite us having a bit of a lead. The pitch was still good and with the quick scoring rates throughout the game we knew we had to bat time so I tried to bat for a few hours to build some pressure and then get to the last session where scoring would become easier. The bowlers were always going to get a bit tired and the pitch was still good.

When Jordan and Broady came in they were scoring positively so I just tried to keep going with them and they kept me going. A couple of boundaries came off and by the end of the day I was quite close to a hundred so I thought just in case we do declare overnight I might as well have a go and luckily I nailed that one in the last over and it went over the ropes.

I wouldn’t have played that shot early on in the innings, that’s for sure! We had built a good lead and with a good chance we wouldn’t bat again in the morning I had to go for that shot and it came right off the middle. Even then I was worried I didn’t get enough of it but I did in the end and it was unbelievable feeling to see the ball go over the rope.

With Rooty also playing well and getting a double century that made it a little bit more special too, he played so well in the first innings to set the game up for us. It is special to follow him because he’s up there on the board twice now, it’s a special thing, everybody wants to be on there.

We are now up in Leeds and it’s great to be at Headingley, I love playing here and it’s been my home ground for the last six or seven years so I’m really looking forward to it and if the weather is good I’m sure there will be a great crowd turning out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I was actually at the day last year when Rooty got his hundred against New Zealand so I saw the atmosphere which was brilliant. I was so pleased for him, to see him get his first century and hopefully the atmosphere can be like that again this weekend.

It is important not to dwell on the past because we have to start again in the second Test because the winner will win the Investec series.

You have to learn from what happened over the last Test, the good and the bad because there is a Test to be won here. I have assessed what I did well and not so well and hopefully I can kick-on and get another score to put England in a good position.

Away from the cricket I’ve managed to watch a bit of the World Cup and even watched the first half of England’s first game against Italy before going to bed ahead of the fourth day at Lord’s. I’m not a huge football fan but I do like to follow it, I was disappointed we didn’t get the win but hopefully in the next game against Uruguay tonight we can play as well but get the win.

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England cricket
Joe Root
Sri Lanka cricket

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