New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell expressed his relief at crafting an important knock on Day 3 of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Christchurch. The right-hander admitted that it was especially special to do it in front of his family.
Mitchell slammed the fifth century of his Test career as New Zealand roared back from 188-6 to post 373, taking an 18-run lead. The 31-year-old hammered 102 off 193 deliveries and shared two strong partnerships with the lower order. The 69-run stand between Neil Wagner and Matt Henry was the bedrock of their lower-order resistance.
Speaking after the day's play, the all-rounder admitted that he never thought he would score even one Test ton and labeled himself as a late bloomer in international cricket.
As quoted by ESPN Cricinfo, he stated:
"To do it at home here in front of my family is pretty cool, and to do it in the circumstances where those runs were needed. I never knew if I would actually be able to get one Test hundred, let alone be where we are now. Every one is special. I guess I'm a late bloomer in international cricket. To represent my country across all the formats is something I've dreamed of since I was a kid."
Despite the seam-bowling all-rounder falling with the team's score reading 291, the Kiwis didn't let Sri Lanka run away with a sizeable lead. Henry's 75-ball 72 played a massive part in the same.
"Thought the Sri Lankans bowled extremely well last night" - Daryl Mitchell
"It's a typical Hagley wicket in that it has got pace and bounce there. I thought the Sri Lankans bowled extremely well last night. They built a lot of pressure and were relentless. You needed a little bit of luck to get through that patch as well. That was nice. And then to put on partnerships with the boys and get us to a total that put us ahead of the game was awesome."
The tourists now lead by 65 runs and will likely need to set the Kiwis nearly 300 to win. A Sri Lankan win would go a long way in sealing a spot in the WTC final.