Luke Ronchi said he was just trying to “enjoy the ride” after his remarkable 88 on his Test debut helped New Zealand fight back against England at Headingley on Friday.
The 34-year-old, New Zealand’s wicket-keeper during their run to the World Cup final, was in superb touch as he helped New Zealand recover to 8-297 at stumps on the first day of the second Test after they’d been two for two, having lost the toss.
Ronchi was given his chance when BJ Watling was selected as a batsman only at Headingley after injuring his knee during England’s 124-run first Test win at Lord’s on Monday.
And he seized it in style with a dashing 70 ball-knock including 13 fours and three sixes.
Despite Friday’s first session being a total wash-out, New Zealand still scored nearly 300 runs in 65 overs in a match they had to win to level the two-match series.
“To make (nearly) 300 on day one in 65 overs is a pretty good effort, especially after being two for two,” the former Australia one-day player told reporters.
“For me I’m 34, playing my first Test, just trying to enjoy it as much as I could and enjoy the ride,” added Ronchi, who put on 120 for the sixth wicket with Tom Latham (84).
He was on course to surpass India star Shikhar Dhawan’s 85-ball record for the quickest century by a Test debutant, set against Australia in Mohail in 2013, when he hooked Stuart Broad to Anderson at fine leg.
“I’ve dreamt of playing Test cricket for as long as I’ve known the game,” said Ronchi.
“I wanted to make sure I didn’t go out there and not play naturally; it’d be an injustice in my mind.
“I can’t complain; I got 88 and am more than happy with that.”
Meanwhile James Anderson said it felt “surreal” to become the first England bowler, and only 12th in history to take 400 Test wickets.
Anderson, who started the match on 399 Test wickets, reached the landmark when he had Martin Guptill caught by Ian Bell in the slips for a duck.
And, two balls later, when Anderson had Kane Williamson caught behind, also for nought, New Zealand were two for two.
“It’s a nice feeling, a proud moment for me, I guess,” said Anderson.
“It feels a bit surreal when you see the list up on the TV with all the guys who’ve got 400 in the past.”
Anderson added that New Zealand’s counter-attack, Which included skipper Brendon McCullum smashing his first ball for six, had come as no surprise to him.
“When we didn’t bowl well they punished us.
“We’ve seen Test cricket move forward with New Zealand scoring at such a rate, Australia are going to be aggressive when they come over here and we’re looking to play that same sort of cricket and fight fire with fire.”