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Geoffrey Boycott reminisces about the day he made his 100th hundred at Headingley

“The pressure of the previous Test at Trent Bridge – my comeback Test – was enormous. After getting through that and making a hundred to win the game by 10 wickets was a bit of a relief. That was my biggest trial. Then, on the Tuesday before the Leeds Test, Rachael said: ‘Oh you’ve done it now.’ I said: ‘Done what?’ She said: ‘You’re going to get your 100th hundred at Headingley, it’s all over the news!’ I said, ‘Oh crikey’ and I got very uptight.

“I was very nervous the night before, couldn’t sleep, had the porter in my room fixing the air conditioning or something. I slept about four hours, I over-slept and was late to the ground – I was never late for practice, can you imagine?! Keith Boyce was taking the nets down when I got there. He kept one net up and I had a five or six-minute knock with a few lads who were knocking about.

‘My God, it has actually happened!’

“I went and got changed and I was hoping Mike Brearley would lose the toss and we’d be in the field. But we won it and chose to bat and as we went out Mike asked me if he could take first strike. He was out about fourth ball so that woke me up! Soon after I forgot about all the nerves and anxiety and lack of sleep. It was magic. My feet were moving perfectly, the ball was hitting the middle of the bat. It shows what the mind can do. I had the least sleep I’ve ever had before batting and I played the most memorable innings of my life.

“I didn’t feel any pressure at all. For me it was all about concentration, patience, and I always felt I had more than the bowler. I felt great. My feet and hands were in sync and I knew they’d have to bowl a magic ball to get me out. I was on 96 and Greg Chappell, an occasional bowler, was on. I knew he was going to try and tempt me into playing a poor shot. So I just chose three safe scoring areas and waited for the right ball. As soon as I hit it [past mid-on] I knew that was it. It was one of those magical moments that come to you a few times in your life. You’re in total control. You see everything before it happens almost. I thought: ‘My God, it has actually happened!’ I was the 18th player to get 100 hundreds but the first one to do it in a Test match. And at my home ground against Australia, and we went on to win the match. It was an unbelievable feeling.

“I rang Brian Clough and Michael Parkinson – my two great friends – that night and Tim Rice left me a bottle of champagne with a little card on it. I celebrated with a glass or two of champagne and a nice quiet dinner at the Dragonara Hotel.”