Jos Buttler has described his maiden Test century as the "proudest moment" of his England career. Although this is Buttler's 23rd Test, it is only the fifth match of his second coming - if you will - in Test cricket and he admitted that, as he approached the milestone, his thoughts had turned to the times he had thought his Test career was over.
On his recall against Pakistan earlier in the season Buttler had struck two half-centuries, including a Man of the Match unbeaten 80 at Headingley, but had been short of runs at the start of the series against India before this 176-ball innings which enabled England to edge the match into the final day.
"It's really satisfying. It has been a long time coming," said Buttler. "And it was, a few months ago, a million miles away so it's a huge moment for me. I don't think I can underestimate that feeling. I'm obviously personally delighted. A little bit lost for words but delighted.
"I think definitely to prove you can do it in the middle, that's a huge part of the feeling of it. Not just for yourself or anyone else, but to show you can do it for your team as well is maybe the biggest thing. And to feel like you've done something for the team and you hopefully belong. But it's more about backing it up and doing it again because it's not easy.
"I was never sure if I'd ever play Test cricket again. All those thoughts go through your head while you're out there as well and you start to get close and you're trying to concentrate on the ball. I never thought this would happen so to try to make sure it does. Definitely times when I thought that race was run."
At a time when the lure of lucrative T20 franchise contracts is stronger than it has ever been and Test cricket has struggled in many countries to compete with shorter formats, Buttler reaffirmed that a Test century was more satisfying than any of his white-ball achievements.
"A lot more fulfilment probably. It's just been a longer time coming I think," said Buttler. "A hundred in any red-ball game - I think it's the first one I've scored for five years probably - so it's definitely a big moment for me and it means a lot and it just proves to me I can do it and the hunger to go and do it again. I've definitely remembered how hard Test cricket is having come back into it. It's really tough. It's tough cricket, it tests you in all sorts of ways and yeah, it's definitely the proudest moment in an England shirt."
Buttler's 169-run fifth-wicket partnership with Ben Stokes staved off a repeat of England's first innings collapse. In the first innings, Buttler had made an entertaining 39 runs off 32 balls, including two sixes, as he batted with the tail. In the second innings he took a more conservative approach and, while his 106-run tally still included 21 boundaries - a record-equalling tally in a century - and he survived an early chance thanks to a Rishabh Pant drop, Buttler's ability to dig in and defend when necessary will undoubtedly be encouraging for England, despite the inevitable loss that will happen sometime on the final day.
"I'm getting closer I think," said Buttler. "It's something I try to do is read the situation and play accordingly so it's pleasing to know that I can do that. There will be different times that different innings are required. That's all I try and do in cricket is try and read the situation and play as I feel like should do.
"I think it shows in Test cricket how it ebbs and flows. For twenty minutes it feels impossible and then for twenty minutes you feel like you're in control and playing well. You can't underestimate how much luck plays a part. Human error, dropped catch and I wouldn't be sat here today either. So I think trying to focus in the moment and stay in your zone and your bubble and play each ball on its merit and within your game plan is all you're trying to do, I think, for that period of time. And if that means they bowl well and you play out four maidens you're trying to trust your defence to get through that.
After such a crushing first innings in which England were bowled out in a session, the partnership between Buttler and Stokes and a stubborn tail meant England were able to take the game into the fifth day. And whatever the margin of defeat, the blow will perhaps be softened by the greater steel shown in the batting.
"It was very important for us today to turn up and show a lot of character and a lot of fight and not give it to India easily and make them work hard and we did that really well throughout the day," said Buttler. "Even the two guys there at the end making sure we do come back tomorrow. It showed that no matter what it is, we're not going to roll over."