Ballance never feared being dropped

Published: Friday 17th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Gary Ballance hopes England can push for victory on the back of his fourth Test century, having banished the frustrations of a wretched World Cup.

Ballance scored 122 on day four of the first Test against West Indies, his first overseas hundred helping the tourists set a huge winning mark of 438.

It was an innings in stark contrast to his shaky displays over the white-ball winter, but entirely in keeping with his superb Test form in 2014, which brought three tons and an average north of 60.

The Yorkshire batsman admitted to experiencing rough times in recent months, but was confident his place was secure enough to come through them.

“I would like to have thought after last summer I was settled in the number three spot, but I guess that’s international sport,” he said.

“It was a tough World Cup but four bad innings doesn’t make you a bad cricketer.

“I didn’t come here thinking if I had a bad game I was going to get dropped. I came here trying to win games for England.”

With the home side 98 for two overnight, the tourists remain favourites to take the honours on day five.

But it will not be an easy task, with the pitch in Antigua presenting no real demons thus far and wickets hard to come by when the ball loses its initial zip.

England had to put in 40 overs for the two they did get, and needed Chris Jordan’s superb one-handed catch to break Darren Bravo’s 83-run stand with Devon Smith.

Ballance is confident they can get the job done, even it takes some more moments of magic in the field.

“We’ve obviously got a lot of runs on the board and we’ve still got a lot of overs to bowl at them,” he said.

“If we can get a few in the first session then in the second we have the new ball to take, so hopefully we can push on for the win.

“Taking that second wicket gave us momentum. Hopefully a few more special pieces of fielding can lift us over the line.

“That was a special catch from CJ, he does it all the time, he has unbelievable hands.”

West Indies coach Phil Simmons, in his first match in charge, has his eyes on a record-breaking upset.

The highest ever fourth-innings chase in Tests was scored in Antigua, the hosts making 418 to down Australia at the old Recreation Ground in 2003.

They need another 340 to eclipse that this time, but Simmons is refusing to accept a draw is the best he can hope for.

“At this stage we’re where we wanted to be: about 100 for one or two, so we’re still looking to win the game,” he said.

“We’re a team who score quickly. Going into the last session, it depends where we are as to whether to have a go at getting the runs.

“With me it’s always a case of looking how you can get the runs before you look at how you can save it.

“It’s easy for guys to score out there. It’s hard to contain batsmen when it’s as easy as that.”

Published: Friday 17th April 2015 by The News Editor

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