England tailender Saqib Mahmood was pleased to get his highest first-class score but even more delighted to wear West Indies "into the ground" on day one of the deciding Test in the series in Grenada on Thursday.
If England go on to win the Test at the National Cricket Stadium it might well be No. 11 Mahmood's batting rather than his bowling that turns out to be a match-winning performance.
In scoring 49 he and Jack Leach (41 not out) not only lifted England to a respectable 204 all out total by the close with their 90-run partnership, but also significantly shifted the mood in the two camps.
Neither team has found Test victories easy to come by of late and as West Indies became frustrated and ragged in the field, England captain Joe Root must have grown more relieved with every run that all was not lost.
"Once I got in it was good fun," said Mahmood, whose innings included an unlikely six over long-on off pace bowler Kyle Mayers that came seemingly out of nowhere.
"It was quite hard work to start with but we knew if we stuck in there they would have to turn to part-time bowlers before the new ball and that's when we could cash in a little bit," Mahmood added.
"We were pretty set when that new ball came along. Our partnership was crucial because it just wore them into the ground a little bit."
Mahmood said the pitch was still offering "a lot of lateral movement" with the new ball.
Mayers, meanwhile, was happy to claim two early wickets, including that of Root for a duck, before he had even given up a run on his return to the team for the first time this series.
He said the wicket had been "seamer friendly" early and conceded that England had fought back nicely with their 10th-wicket partnership.
"The wicket got better as the ball got softer," he said.
"They played well, honestly. Kudos to them."
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