Keaton Jennings was not supposed to be playing in India. The 24-year-old was playing For England Lions in Dubai, when he got a call of being fast-tracked into the Test team against India, after Haseeb Hameed was injured.
Keaton, son of former South Africa coach Ray Jennings, made full use of the opportunity by scoring a century in his debut innings in the fourth Test at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday. He is the 19th English player to score a ton in debut Test.
Jennings, a tall left-handed batsman, has been playing first-class cricket since 2011 but 2016 has been his dream year.
He was the leading run-scorer in the County Championship with 1,548 runs at 64.5 with seven tons, including a double century.
On Thursday, as England captain Alastair Cook chose to bat first, Jennings accompanied to open the innings. The two stitched a 99-run stand for the first wicket.
Cook departed on 46 just ahead of lunch but Jennings continued to frustrate India with Joe Root. His was an innings of patience and perseverance.
When Root departed in the second session, it seemed that England were in for a big trouble. But Jennings was involved in another fifty-plus stand as England inched closer to a big total.
The debutant brought up his century with a reverse sweep off Jayant Yadav off 186 balls. He was finally dismissed for 112 by Ravichandran Ashwin.
Jennings -- who was born in Johannesburg and captained the South African under-19 team -- hit 12 fours during his century run.
He became the latest South African-born English cricketer to score a ton on their international Test debut.
Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior both made centuries in their first outings while Jonathan Trott reached three figures in the second innings of his Test debut.
Jennings, whose mother is English, moved to England in 2011 after leaving school, committing himself to four years there so he could become eligible to play for the national side.
Jennings, whose father Ray played for South Africa during the apartheid era, decided to switch allegiance to further his career, in a similar move to Kevin Pietersen in the early 2000s.
Players who were born abroad are eligible to play for England after spending four years in English county cricket, a policy that has attracted controversy in some quarters.