England batsman Andrew Strauss described his 129 on the opening day of the deciding Ashes Test at The Oval as the most crucial of his career.
"It's the most important given the context of the series," he said.
"It was a real battle because we were in difficult situations all the way through. It was important I hung in."
Strauss eventually became Shane Warne's fifth victim and he added: "The wicket didn't help Shane and he still took five wickets. That says everything."
England finished the day on 319-7 and Strauss said England would look to post a first-innings score of at least 350.
"The wicket seems to me like more of a day two wicket, it's quite dry," said Strauss.
"Come days four and five, it might break up a little bit.
"We'll only really know once Australia have batted on it but if we can get 350-plus those are runs on the board."
Strauss said he enjoyed batting with Andrew Flintoff, with whom he added 143 runs for the fifth wicket, after putting on 82 with opening partner Marcus Trescothick.
never felt that comfortable because of the pressure of the situation, we had to
dig deep and I really enjoyed playing with Andrew Flintoff," he said.
"Trescothick has been doing really well all series and he
continued in that vein, getting 80-odd on board was just what we needed to
settle the nerves of the guys. "