sport

Dream day for Robson

Sam Robson became the second member of England's new look top-six to hit a first Test hundred this summer, declaring his innings against Sri Lanka as "the stuff dreams are made of".

With one-time cornerstones Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen having departed the stage, one indefinitely and the other on a resoundingly permanent basis, there was a youthful look to England's batting order going into this two-match series.

But after new number three Gary Ballance hit a maiden ton at Lord's last week, 24-year-old Robson followed suit with a diligent 127 on day two at Headingley.

In just his third Test innings the Middlesex opener played with a solidity and certainty over six and a quarter hours, forming the central plank of the hosts' 320 for six.

They had been rather better placed at 278 for two before Robson's departure ushered in a late-evening wobble, but they still head into day three ahead by 63.

Having contributed just one and 19 on debut at Lord's, he had something more substantial to reflect on this time.

"It's worked out unbelievably well...Test hundreds are the stuff dreams are made of," said the Australia-born right-hander.

"It's been a special day...one I certainly won't ever be forgetting.

"I tried to get myself in and get the team into a decent position and the more time you spend at the crease the more comfortable you feel.

"I felt good in the middle."

Robson celebrated in relatively muted fashion by modern standards, but his calm exterior did not tell the full story.

Unbelievable moment

"I was just trying to soak it all up really, such a special, unbelievable moment," he said.

"I didn't know what to do...run around? Just carry on? I just tried to enjoy what was an unbelievable feeling

"Ian Bell at the other end said 'just enjoy the moment, take your time'. I raised my bat and did just that."

Robson's Antipodean roots have garnered the anticipated attention since he was brought into the England fold, not least because Australia made late moves to tempt him back to their domestic game last summer.

With an Ashes series scheduled for next year he has surely not heard the end of that subject, but he did his best to pour cold water on it at Leeds.

"I came to England when I finished school, moved over here and have been here six or seven years," he explained.

"I've loved every minute of playing for Middlesex, and loved living in London.

"I've got a great life here. This is where my life is at really.

"The way the rules were, going back (to Australia) and playing there wasn't really an option anyway.

"There was a chance to play some domestic cricket there (in Australia) in the winter, but I was with the Lions group and the England Performance Programme, and that was the end of it really."

Late fightback

Sri Lanka batsman Dimuth Karunaratne was enthused by his side's late charge, with four wickets after tea opening the door for the tourists.

They would need a similarly strong start on the third morning, but will be going in in good heart.

"England batted really well in the first two sessions but we had a great comeback," he said.

"If we can get them out for under 400 we have a chance and we can put them under pressure.

"England will bat in the fourth innings and our spinner Rangana Herath will come into the game."