Steve Smith revealed he had thought at one stage he would not return to international cricket after he marked his comeback to Tests with a remarkable century on the opening day of the Ashes series at Edgbaston.
Australia lost their openers cheaply and were struggling at 17-2 when former skipper Smith walked out into the middle.
The batting collapse worsened for the visitors and they found themselves reeling at 122-8 before Smith stitched valuable partnerships with Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon to rescue his side from dire straits.
Amidst the raucous jeers that greeted Smith, he top-scored with 144 in Australia's total of 284 after skipper Tim Paine elected to bat first.
Smith brought up the 24th Test century of his career, his first international hundred since he made a comeback following the expiry of his 12-month ban due to his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal.
"There were times throughout the last 15 months where I didn't know if I was ever going to play cricket again," Smith told reporters.
"I lost a bit of love for it at one point, particularly when I had my elbow operation.
"It was really bizarre that it was the day I got the brace off my elbow, I found a love for it again.
"I don't know what it was, it was like a trigger that just said 'right I'm ready to go again, I want to play and I want to go out and play for Australia and make people proud and just do what I love doing."
Smith's extraordinary innings was characterized by dignified composure and brilliant application on the crease.
He espoused high levels of endurance with his idiosyncratic batting stance allowing him to play the ball increasingly late with soft hands.
Smith's ability to steer his side through difficulty while batting alongside tail-enders also attracted praise.
Smith's six-hour innings finally ended when he was the last man to be dismissed, with his biggest scare coming when he wrongly adjudged lbw for 34 off Stuart Broad's bowling only for it to be later overturned on review.
The returning trio were mocked by the hostile England crowd that waved sandpaper when Warner and Bancroft were dismissed early in the innings by Broad.
The boos persisted even with Smith bringing up his century but the 30-year-old insisted he was galvanized by the support from his teammates.
"I know I've got the support of the boys in the room and, for me, that's all that really matters," Smith emphasized.
"They went berserk on the balcony when I got to my hundred and just looking up at them, it sent shivers down my spine."