Centurion Joe Root was glad to throw off the shackles of England’s miserable winter on day one of the first Investec Test against Sri Lanka.
Root finished 102 not out at Lord’s as the home side posted an strong 344 for five having been inserted on a green-tinged track by Angelo Mathews.
Sheffield Collegiate product Root, like most of his England colleagues, endured a difficult winter Down Under in Australia and ended the 5-0 Ashes whitewash out of the side.
There was no sign of any concerns as he made his third Test ton, and second at HQ, with Matt Prior (76no) and Ian Bell (56) also in the runs.
“It was obviously a tough winter, not just on a personal front but as a team so it’s obviously pleasing,” Root, who hit 180 at Lord’s against Australia last summer, said.
“I enjoy playing here. You can’t beat the first Test of the summer at Lord’s and the atmosphere was fantastic.
“Nothing beats Test cricket in my eyes and the challenge of trying to score runs in the first Test of the summer after the winter we had was one I relished.
“Hopefully me and Matty can kick on now and get towards 400 if not more.”
Prior, who was also axed Down Under, ended the day close to his attacking best - but not before surviving an agonisingly close lbw appeal.
“I love batting with Matty,” 23-year-old Root continued.
“He’s a great bloke to have in the side and to play how he has is testament to his character and his quality as a player,” he said.
“You can see by the celebration for his 50 how much it means to him.”