Alex Lees column: I would have to class last year’s hundred at Lord’s, my first in Championship cricket, as the highlight of my career so far.
If you ask any young player ‘where would you like your first Championship hundred to be?’, I don’t think there would be too many who wouldn’t be saying Lord’s. For me, that was a dream.
I think everybody improves their game when they play at Lord’s. It has an air of grandeur and special feeling. I know I certainly had that feeling when I played there for the first time last year.
Hopefully I can replicate my hundred against Middlesex this week, and hopefully we can replicate the performance which brought us a ten-wicket win and keep moving forward.
We played superbly in our win over Northamptonshire at Headingley last week.
Obviously we played well at Somerset and we wanted to back that up. I wouldn’t say we were quite at our best but, if we play like that for most of the year, we will be in a good place.
They were obviously hampered by quite a lot of injuries, whether that be to overseas players or in the warm-up games.
We knew they weren’t quite at full strength but they still had some very good cricketers in their side. They batted down to nine and ten, and sometimes teams like that can be hard to break down.
Thankfully we have the quality in our attack to get 20 wickets.
I’m naturally disappointed that I didn’t get a hundred, but you can’t always get there. I was happy with time in the middle.
It was an important partnership between me and Gary Ballance. At that stage in the game, with us 57-3 in our first innings, the game could have gone either way.
It was pleasing for me that, when I was needed by the team, I gutsed it out and contributed to get us into a decent position. Gary took it away from them and Jack Brooks bowled superbly when it was their turn to bat.
I am delighted for Paul Farbrace after his appointment as England’s new assistant coach. It is a great appointment by the ECB because Paul is a brilliant coach and a brilliant bloke.
There is obviously a bit of change and refreshment, and I’m sure it will give it that juice that English cricket needs. I’m sure we’ll be back at the top soon.
I think everybody is playing to impress now. No matter what team you are playing in, you want to show what you can do.
There is a new coach with new ideas, and there are lads around the country putting their hands up. It is a really exciting time.