Sean Ervine toasted his fabulous century and admitted: That’s the hardest I’ve ever worked for a ton.
The destructive Zimbabwean blazed a superb 109 not out.
His knock put Hampshire in charge of their Championship clash with Glamorgan at the Ageas Bowl as they posted 316 all out on day one.
But on a green and lush pitch, set up to produce a result, Ervine’s knock – in tandem with David Balcombe’s late contribution of 39 – provided the home side with some valuable bonus runs after they were wobbling at 96 for five just after lunch.
Ervine said: ‘That was probably the hardest I have worked just because of the wicket. You never really felt in on it.
‘I got away with a few chances but it was crucial from the team point of view to get to more than 300. It was a great feeling to do it.
‘The new ball did all sorts and as the ball got a little bit older, it got a little bit easier.
‘We actually thought we were playing on a different wicket before we started.
But groundsman Nigel Gray said it’s the greenest he has ever left a wicket.
‘At one point, I was thinking 220 was something we could at least bowl at.
‘So it was a bonus to get those extra 90-odd runs.’
While Ervine led the way, Michael Bates and Balcombe both made vital scores.
But it was Hampshire’s leading wicket-taker this season who added some flair with an entertaining late flurry.
Ervine said: ‘Balcs played incredibly well and it was a career best for him.
‘He came to the party and hit everything out of the middle of the bat.
‘I just told him “if it’s in your area, play your natural game”. We had great fun out there and Balcs was absolutely loving it.
‘He was middling it and played some incredible shots.
‘The wicket was green, it was seaming around and they had just taken the new ball.
‘But he played an important role in me reaching three figures and us getting beyond 300.’
Ervine, who struck a 13th first class century of his career, celebrated in style after bringing up his ton with a glorious six.
He said: ‘Everyone in the field came in and I thought “here goes”.
‘We’d got past the 250 for the bonus point and we were kicking on to 300 with Balcs playing nicely at the other end.
‘So I gave myself a bit of room and just swung through the line!
‘I didn’t really think about my celebration.
‘You don’t think about those things when you get to 100. I was just happy to get to three figures.’