By Callum Dent
Gary Ballance expressed his love for Lord’s after hitting his second successive five-day century at the home of cricket on day two of the second Investec Test against India.
The 24-year-old followed his maiden international ton against Sri Lanka earlier in the summer with another stunning display today, joining Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott in making consecutive hundreds in their first two contests at HQ.
Ballance held the innings together, displaying his defensive and attacking qualities in a superb knock of 110 that helped England close on 219 for six in reply to India’s first-innings 295.
He told ecb.co.uk: “It’s great feeling. I wanted to get us out of a hole and put us in a decent position come tomorrow. It’s a great feeling and it’s a shame I didn’t kick on and be there tonight.
“It’s obviously a great place to play cricket. The pitch this week has done a bit more from when I have played on it before.
“If you get in and play good shots and be patient, you can score quickly.”
In front of his friends and family, the Yorkshire batsman flicked Stuart Binny through midwicket for his fifth four in nine balls off the seamer to move to three figures from 186 deliveries.
Ballance said: “How ever you go to three figures is good. It was nice. Sometimes you can be stuck on 99 for a while and get a bit twitchy. It was a nice ball on leg stump and luckily it went in the gap.
“My family were here again today. They have been over for a while now and they have got to see another hundred at Lord’s. It's another special moment.”
Asked whether it was better than his hundred against Sri Lanka, Ballance replied: “I’m not sure it was better. It was different circumstances.
“I think the pitches were different. Against Sri Lanka it was a bit flatter and there was a bit of seam movement. It’s different but it is still satisfying."
Ballance shared in a fifth-wicket stand of 98 with Moeen Ali to help England fight back after Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s three early wickets reduced the hosts to 70 for three.
But their dismissals in the final eight overs of the day swung the momentum back in Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side’s favour.
“To be fair they bowled well and put it in decent areas,” Ballance said.
“We had to be quite patient. We had that partnership, myself and Moeen, and put ourselves in a decent position.
“If the bowlers and all-rounders can score some runs tomorrow, we will be in a very good position.”
Ballance has called for England’s lower order to replicate India’s heroics yesterday when they resume tomorrow morning.
He added: “It’s quite even but as you have seen in this series the tail-enders have scored a lot of runs.
“If Matty (Prior) can get going with one of them tomorrow, we can put ourselves in a good position.”