England batsman Dawid Malan was “almost in tears” after reaching a maiden Test century on the first day of the third Ashes Test in Perth.
Malan struck an unbeaten 110 to take England, who must avoid defeat to remain in the series, to 305-4 at the Waca.
“It’s not every day you score a hundred for your country,” the 30-year-old told BBC Sport.
“It was pretty emotional. I was trying to keep the tears in.”
The Middlesex left-hander, playing in his eighth Test, was watched by his parents and embraced by his mother as he left the field.
“To do it front of them, after the sacrifices they have made to get me here, is great. It’s nice to repay them,” he added.
With England 2-0 down in the series, their hold on the Ashes looked in huge danger when they slipped to 131-4 after winning the toss.
But Malan added an unbroken stand of 174 with Jonny Bairstow, who remains on 75 not out.
The tourists’ encouraging day comes after a weekend when Ben Duckett was suspended from the rest England Lions’ tour games for pouring a drink over James Anderson, the latest in a number of off-field incidents concerning Joe Root’s side.
“It has been tough,” said Malan. “We’ve been under the pump for things you wouldn’t normally be under the pump for.
“The only way you get rid of these headlines is to win games of cricket, and we’ve put ourselves in a good position.
“We have a chance to get a big score and put them under pressure on the second day.”
Malan made his Test debut against South Africa in the home summer.
In his first innings, he was left on all fours after being bowled by Proteas’ fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and did not manage a score higher than 18 in his first two games.
“After those first two games I didn’t think I’d ever score a run in Test cricket,” he said. “I’ve found a way and adjusted my game so it can work at this level.
“Today it was my day, a few things went my way and managed to capitalise on that.”
Along with James Vince and Mark Stoneman, Malan was part of an unproven batting unit named in England’s squad, leading to derision from some parts of the Australian media.
“Whether people know your name or don’t know your name, it’s nice to put the doubts to bed,” said Malan.
“The three of us have never felt under pressure, like we have had backing from the coach and the captain, it’s just that every time you open a newspaper you read how bad you are.
“It’s nice to tick the box to prove that you can score hundreds.”