Joe Root was ecstatic about his performance, which saw him become the sixth England skipper to score a ton on his captaincy debut.
The 26-year-old put in a magnificent batting display to save his side, after going into lunch at 82-4. The newly-appointed England skipper ended on 184 not out, which is currently the fourth-highest score for a captain in their first Test as captain.
‘It was pretty special,’ said Root at the press conference at Lord’s after day one.
‘I’m in a bit of a dreamworld, to be honest. You obviously want to start well as captain and you want to set the example.
‘You’ve been harping on at the lads about how you want them to approach their cricket, and you want to make sure you go out and do exactly as you have been preaching about.
‘There was a little bit of relief. You want to tick it [hundred] off early on. I walked out to bat, feeling the same as previously playing for England. The situation was laid out in front of me.
‘It was important to get to lunch, knowing the wicket would get better as the day went on.’
Despite carrying a slight cold, the England No 4 strung together two important century partnerships; an 114-run fifth-wicket stand with Ben Stokes, and an unbeaten 167-run stand with Moeen Ali.
‘I felt pretty groggy, but nothing was going to stop me enjoying the day. It is an amazing opportunity and privilege being England captain and I wanted to go out and enjoy it,’ he said.
‘I was not going to let a cold get in the way.’
Root survived three close-shave dismissals throughout his innings. He miss-hooked a ball from Kagiso Rabada, which just cleared a leaping Aiden Markram on 8, he was dropped by JP Duminy on 16 and was stumped on a no-ball from Keshav Maharaj, one run shy of his 150.
‘You go from a terrible feeling of disgust to feeling like you have been blessed,’ he said about being recalled after the no-ball.
‘I rode my luck today and sometimes you have to take it with a pinch of salt. I enjoyed every minute from start to finish.
‘It was really pleasing to come off at the end with the side in a position to kick on in the morning and get a really good first innings score.’
England will look to add on to their 357-5 on day two, as South Africa will aim for an early breakthrough.