The minor controversy in the lead-up to the second Test didn’t disturb Gary Ballance’s focus as the 24-year old registered a face-saving 110 for England, at Lord’s, on Friday.
While the other England batsmen failed to handle the Indian bowling in the desired manner, Ballance stood tall amidst the ruins with his 203-ball knock, which had 15 boundaries.
The youngster was obviously happy. “Just to score a hundred at Lord’s is amazing, really… It’s been an interesting week. I didn’t really expect it, but it’s nice to score some runs and put us back in a decent position,” Ballance said.
“It is a nice place to play cricket and I just love batting here. I just thought ‘I’ve got to scrap hard here, it’s probably not going to be pretty or very exciting to watch’. But at the end of the day, it’s about doing a job. I tried to be patient. I knew I was going to play and miss, so tried to leave as much as I could and just wait for anything with a bit of width or anything too straight. Luckily, I fought hard, got an edge through the slips early on, and it paid off, being patient.”
Asked about his controversial night out, the batsman said: “I didn’t see it coming, and it was a bit embarrassing. I was probably a bit naive, but I didn’t really break any rules. I was just having fun after a Test match. But I’ll learn from that, and probably won’t do it again,” he said.
The centurion admitted that he was a bit nervous on the opening day of the Test. “I felt a bit of pressure turning up on day one, with what had happened... But everyone around me was very supportive — the coaches, all the players and my family were backing me and saying ‘mistakes happen, you’ve got to learn from it and move on’.
“Once they’d said that, luckily, I took a catch in the third or fourth over, and that calmed me down a lot,” he added.
He also stood behind captain Alastair Cook, who once again failed with the bat, being dismissed for just 10. “Knowing what Cooky (Alastair Cook) is like, he’ll still be very positive and upbeat. He’s a fantastic cricketer, a fantastic captain and his scores over the years prove that. He’ll obviously be disappointed not getting a score today. But he’ll keep working hard and I’m sure it will be a matter of time before he gets that big score.”
About the Indian bowlers, Ballance said: “They were very disciplined and came at us all day.”