England put their shirt on redeemed star

England's Gary Ballance celebrates scoring 100 not out during day two of the second test at Lord's Cricket Ground, London.
England's Gary Ballance celebrates scoring 100 not out during day two of the second test at Lord's Cricket Ground, London.
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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 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 them with a crucial 110 as England replied to 295 all out with 219-6.

There was barely a false shot in the middle by Ballance, 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 Lord’s century, of course, for a few drinks in Nottingham any time of the day or week.

“Just to score a hundred at Lord’s is amazing really,” added the Yorkshire batsman.

“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 even better after what happened.”

“I felt a bit of pressure turning up on day one, with what happened,” he added.

“But everyone around me was very supportive – the coaches, all the players, my family were backing me and saying ‘mistakes happen; you’ve got to learn from it, and move on’.

“Once they’d said that, luckily I took a catch in the third or fourth over and that calmed me down a lot.”