Jonathan Trott reduced his mother to tears – of joy – at The Brit Oval yesterday by scoring the chanceless hundred that ended any realistic possibility of an Australian victory and left England needing 10 wickets to regain the Ashes.
Trott, the South Africa-born batsman brought into the side to replace Ravi Bopara, became the first England debut-maker to start his career with an Ashes century since Graham Thorpe reached three figures at Trent Bridge in 1993.
The 28-year-old, watched by his parents, Ian and Donna, and wife, Abi, was finally dismissed for 119. "It will be even more special if we can get the result we want," said Trott. "At the start of the game a win was the most important thing, and it still is."
Needing a seemingly impossible 546 to win – 418 is the highest successful fourth-innings run chase in the history of Test cricket – Australia will resume today on 80 without loss, having been given a flying start by their openers, Shane Watson and Simon Katich.
"It's not a foregone conclusion," warned Trott. "We need to put them under pressure like we did in the first innings."