Gary Ballance believes Yorkshire are in a healthy state after a productive first day against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.
The former captain starred with 109 from 186 balls, his first hundred of the season, to leave the White Rose county at 315-7 from 96 overs at the start of this pink ball Specsavers County Championship match.
Ballance posted his third successive century on this ground after a hundred and a double here last April. He has also scored a Test Match hundred here for England.
“I do (love batting here),” he said after a day which also saw Harry Brook impress with 79.
“It was a pretty decent wicket, and it felt good.
“It was good to spend some time in the middle. I think we have a decent score.
“They bowled well and in some good areas and made it tough for us to score, so we had to be patient. Once I got in, it felt like it was a nice paced pitch.”
Watch match highlights from Day 1.
Ballance and Brook shared 143 for the fourth wicket either side of lunch as Yorkshire, who elected to bat, slipped to 21-3.
Current South Africa international fast bowler Dale Steyn was the hosts’ standout with 4-48 from 25 overs, making the efforts of Ballance and Brook all the more impressive.
“Harry is obviously a very talented player,” said left-handed Ballance.
“You saw with some of the shots he played, he scores all around the wicket. Against a good attack, it was good for him to get some runs. He’s just going to keep improving.”
Unfortunately for Ballance, he was one of Steyn’s victims, miscuing a short ball to mid-wicket after tea – a ball which he seemed to lose sight of.
“When we went back out after tea, it took a bit of time to get used to the twilight,” he said. “But I don’t want to make any excuses, it was a poor shot. I just got stuck in two minds.
“After tea, from around 7pm onwards for about an hour so, a few of the guys who batted said it became harder than if you were batting when the sun was out in the day.”
On the state of the game, he reiterated Yorkshire’s satisfaction having gained three batting bonus points with the power to add at the start of day two.
“Definitely (we’re happy), after not the greatest of starts,” he said. “We fought back well and finished the day very strongly.”
And on the pitch conditions, he added: “Early on when the ball’s harder, there’s enough there. They got a few wickets with that. It’s quite slow, but there will be something for the bowlers as the game goes on.”