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Gary Ballance to the rescue for woeful England

By David Clough

Gary Ballance was hanging his head in embarrassment on the eve of the second Test, but by stumps on day two he was the toast of Lord's for bailing England out with a battling century against India.

Ballance pulled his shirt off as he and team-mates partied in a Nottingham nightclub after the drawn first match of the Investec Series at Trent Bridge.

It took three days for him to realise the full consequences of his mistake, when camera-phone pictures of him stripped to the waist and apparently swaying were published in the national press.

England, however, decided there was no need to punish Ballance – and he repaid the collective in the second Test with a crucial 110 as England replied to 295 all out with 219 for six.

After another worrying failure from captain Alastair Cook, and only mediocre returns from the rest of the top order, England badly needed runs from number three Ballance and he did not disappoint.

There was barely a false shot in the middle, but he does regret letting his guard slip on Sunday.

"I didn't see it coming and it was a bit embarrassing," said the 24-year-old.

"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 will swap a few drinks in Nottingham, of course, for a Lord's century any time of the day or week.

"Just to score a hundred at Lord's is amazing really," Ballance said.

"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.

"It's a great feeling... I think an even better feeling after what happened."

Belfast Telegraph


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