Sheffield’s Joe Root admits he rode his luck at times before posting a stunning century for England on day one of the first Ashes Test against Australia.
Root came to the crease with England 43-3 on the first morning in Cardiff, and was dropped by Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin second ball after edging behind.
He made the most of his life by hitting his first Ashes century, before eventually being dismissed for 134 off 166 balls - by former Yorkshire team-mate Mitchell Starc - as England posted 343-7 at the close of play.
“I’m really pleased with the ways things went,” Sheffield Collegiate product Root said.
“I rode my luck at times, especially early on, so I’m happy to be in the position we are in as a team. We can kick on in the morning and get some early wickets when we get the chance to.
“I played quite positively, which is just the way things clicked together really. I got off to a nice start but I had to calm myself down a little bit because credit to Australia, they bowled really well after lunch.
“The last time we played Australia, I spent too much time trying to get forward rather than getting my weight into the ball.
“I’ve worked hard on that, I’ll continue to work hard on that and it’s nice to see that hard work paying off.”
Root’s last Test encounter with the Australians came 18 months ago, when he was part of the England team whitewashed 5-0 ‘Down Under’.
The 24-year-old hit 87 in the second Test but was dropped for the final match in Sydney. Since then, he has bounced back and established himself as one of the best batsmen in the world, with only New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Kumar Sangakkara, of Sri Lanka, scoring more international runs.
He was eventually removed by Starc, with Shane Watson holding a sharp chance low down at slip.
Earlier, Root had shared a 153-run stand with Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance, his former housemate who spent time in club cricket with Barnsley CC after moving from Derbyshire.
Ballance, who went into the series in poor form, battled away for almost four hours for 61 before falling lbw to Josh Hazlewood.
Moeen Ali (26) and Stuart Broad, yet to get off the mark, steered England through to the close of play.
“It’s always nice to get a ton, especially at the start of a series and especially against Australia,” Root added.
“Now, I hope it’s the first of a few and not just a one off.”