Keaton Jennings is the name on every cricket fan's lips today, after he became the 19th England batsman to mark his international debut with a century. The Durham opener struck an unbeaten 112 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to help Alastair Cook's side, who trail 2-0 in the five-match series, reach stumps on day one of the fourth Test on 288-5.
It was a real demonstration of poise, confidence and class from Jennings, who was only added to the squad alongside Hampshire all-rounder Liam Dawson last week after 19-year-old revelation Haseeb Hameed needed to return home to undergo surgery on a broken finger suffered during the eight-wicket third Test defeat in Mohali.
With such an impressive knock still fresh in the memory, IBTimes UK provides a brief profile of England's man of the moment....
Jennings was born in Johannesburg to a mother who hails from Sunderland. His father is Ray Jennings, an influential former South Africa wicket-keeper who coached the national side for a short period between 2004 and 2005. The 24-year-old, who went to the same school as former Proteas captain Graeme Smith, made his first-class debut for provincial side Gauteng.
Jennings captained South Africa's U19s during their tour of England in 2011 and subsequently joined the Durham academy. He became eligible to represent his adopted country in March of this year after serving a four-year residency period and was chosen by Andy Flower to lead the Lions on their winter trip to the United Arab Emirates. He warmed up for his senior debut by notching 101 to seal an eight-wicket 50-over win against the UAE in Dubai.
The left-hander really shone at domestic level in 2016, finishing the campaign as County Championship Division One's top scorer after hitting 1,548 runs, including seven first-class centuries and two double hundreds, against Yorkshire and Surrey respectively, at an average of 64.5. His 221 not out against the former during a draw at Chester-le-Street in June was a career high.
He was rewarded for that swashbuckling form by being named as the Cricket Writers' Club county player of the year. Jennings was unanimously voted as Durham's player of the year and also picked up the players' player of the year award in addition to three other gongs, including community player of the season. His two boundaries from the final two deliveries that secured a tense, last-gasp Royal London One-Day Cup win over the Notts Outlaws was also voted as moment of the year.
Jennings signed a new four-year deal in August amid reported interest from Warwickshire but could yet choose to invoke a relegation clause in that contract after Durham's well-documented financial crisis. The county were demoted to Division Two in October and will begin next season with a 48-point deduction after agreeing a £3.8m ($4.8m) bailout package, approved by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
"The more time you spend in a country, the more you feel welcome," Jennings, Cook's 11th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012, recently said of his experience since moving to England. "Especially in the North East, the people are very welcoming – and that made me feel part of the furniture essentially. At the moment I'm feeling very comfortable and very English, despite my accent."
Speaking to Sky Sports after joining a list of debut centurions that includes the likes of WG Grace, Graham Thorpe, Strauss, Cook, Matt Prior and Jonathan Trott, he said: "It's been an incredible six to eight months and an even more special 72 hours – meeting the guys and getting a hundred. There was a little bit of panic at 5am this morning when I woke up and thought I'd missed the bus, but it has been awesome. I settled down after scoring my first run and Cookie helped me.
"You never know if your game is ready for Test cricket and how you will react under pressure – thankfully I have done well straight away but you have to sustain it over a long period of time. Happiness outside of cricket has certainly helped me, making me a little more positive and relaxed."