By David Charlesworth
Robson batted with great maturity in just his second Test on a pitch that was offering encouragement to batsmen and bowlers alike, bringing up his hundred off the 220th delivery he faced shortly after tea.
His 127 at the top of the order, which included 15 fours and a six before he was bowled by Nuwan Pradeep, was the outstanding performance of the day as England established a 63-run advantage by closing on 320 for six.
It was an innings that will live long in the memory for Robson, especially with his parents watching on from the sidelines.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, he said: “I’m a bit speechless, I don’t really know what to say. It’s unbelievable, a very special day. It was just a great day that I’ll remember forever, there’s no doubt about that.
“It was really special that (my parents) were here, I saw (my dad) on the screen a couple of times, it’s just a great day all round.”
Robson faced a nervous wait before moving to his ton after going in to the tea interval on 98, but the Middlesex man admitted team-mate Ian Bell was a great help at the other end as he closed in on, and then reached, three figures.
Robson said: “I pushed a little bit hard before tea to look for those two runs, I had to rein myself in a little bit.
“I was nervous but Belly was really good at the other end helping me through and just saying ‘tick off the little targets as a partnership and it’ll come’, so it was a special moment when it did.
“I didn’t really know what to do actually. I didn’t know whether to run around or carry on so I just put my bat up and Belly just said ‘soak it up and really enjoy it’. So I did just that.”
Robson shared in a second-wicket stand of 142 with Gary Ballance, who contributed 74, while Bell’s 64 on his 100th Test was also a crucial innings.
Yet Sri Lanka claimed three quick wickets in the final hour to check England’s progress although Robson believes the home side are still well placed.
He added: “I think we’re really pleased, we’re ahead by 60-odd. We’ve got good batsmen at the crease and guys that can bat well to come.
“If we can bat well in the morning, get through the first little tricky period, build a lead and then get stuck in at them when it’s our turn to bowl.”