Before his recall to the England team earlier this year, England number three Dawid Malan said on Friday that he feared his Test cricket career was gone. Malan, who was born in South Africa, said after a tenacious 80 not out in England’s second innings against Australia in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba. Malan and England skipper Joe Root (86 not out) put on an unbeaten 159-run combination to take the visitors to 220-2 at stumps on the third day, giving them hope of at least a draw.

It would be an incredible achievement given that they were bowled out for 147 in their first innings and then watched as Australia scored 425 to take a 278-run advantage. On a scorching Brisbane day, Malan batted for over two hours and said he liked every minute of it.

“For me, test cricket is the ultimate,” he remarked. “You can play as brilliantly as you want in T20 or 50-over cricket, but your Test career will be judged at the end.” So, especially in an Ashes series, coming to Australia and playing on these bouncy surfaces against these quick bowlers would be a test.” Since making his debut against South Africa in 2017, Malan has played in 18 Test matches. He played 14 Tests in 2017 and 2018 but did not play again until August of this year when he was recalled against India.

He admitted, “I felt I’d never play another Test again. I told ‘Rootie’ when we were both on 40 or 50 that I’d really missed this — someone trying to blow my head off, and the audience going, and the adrenaline flowing, and playing against the best bowlers in the world. So being able to stand out there in an England shirt makes me so happy. It’s a lot of fun, a lot of fun.”