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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Hussain relieved at 'big ton'
Hussain waved to the press box on completing his ton
Hussain waved angrily at the press box

Nasser Hussain is aiming to build on his unbeaten 108 and steer England into a match-winning position when play resumes in the third Test against South Africa on Friday.

The former England captain said he was relieved to hit his 13th Test ton then vowed to fight on as long as possible for his country.

Hussain and Mark Butcher (106) had hauled England back into contention after the hosts were reduced to 29-2.

And at the end of the day's play England were in a commanding position for the first time in the series on 296-3.

Celebrating his century, Hussain also gestured towards the media centre in response to criticism from some quarters about his contribution to the team.

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Hussain, who dramatically resigned as England skipper after the first Test and then looked out-of-sorts in the mauling at Lord's, said: "It was just a release of a bit of frustration developed over the last few weeks.

"A lot has gone on in my mind and I had to dig deep to get a hundred out of myself.

"People know I am always in there for a fight, fighting for my country and you still feel after four-and-half years of showing everyone how much you care and want to do well, that you have to keep doing that.

I am not usually nervous in the 90s but the hundred was a big thing for me
Nasser Hussain
"But that is what keeps me going and I will keep doing it as long as I can."

On reaching three figures, he added: "I was quite nervous actually, I am not usually nervous in the 90s but the hundred was a big thing for me today.

"I had to put my bat up again, people kept shouting 'keep going Nasser' and for the English crowd to turn up like they did after the performance we put in at Lord's and get behind us like they did lifted me and would have lifted Butch as well.

"This is probably my normal type of Test hundred, I am a bloke who has to work hard for every run, especially on a wicket like that."

Critics had debated whether Hussain was worth his place having given up the leadership.

But Butcher, whose 106 was his third Test ton of the year and eighth in all, insisted that was when the Essex batsman was at his most dangerous.

"In the build-up to the game he has been in the nets four or five times to my one and really worked hard," said Butcher.

Nasser and I kept imagining what it would be like with another couple of wickets on the board and drove each other on
Mark Butcher
"As soon as the vultures start circling for him you know there is a very good chance he is going to come up with something good.

"He wanted to prove it to people who were getting on his back a bit and also to himself; it was testament to his will and strength of character he did what he did today."

Unlike Lord's, Butcher and Hussain managed to dig in and prevent a middle-order capitulation despite the South African fast bowlers finding some prodigious movement both through the air and off the pitch.

"When the South Africans get a sniff they can be very dangerous, so we kept imagining what it would be like with another couple of wickets on the board and drove each other on," conceded Butcher.

England resume on Friday morning with debutant Ed Smith unbeaten on 40, on what Hussain says is an "ugly wicket" covered in "grooves and cracks".

Links to more Eng v SA 2003 stories


England's Mark Butcher
"The whole team knew we needed to perform"

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