It was a sort of the English revival in this cold Indian winter for them as the debutant Keaton Jennings led from the front with a magnificent century. For the hosts, however, it was being at the receiving end in yet another tale of southpaw domination.
Keaton Jennings was indeed taking his time in his nineties before he reverse swept a Jayant Yadav delivery for a boundary. A century on debut was applauded by many from the stands – including the injured Haseeb Hameed, the teenager whom this Durham-based cricketer replaced in this ongoing series. As the world looks up for more about this 24-year old opening batsman, we bring to you some of the highlights of his life and career so far.
(1) Keaton was the son of former Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Ray Jennings and has visited India during the IPL in 2010. Though his father was a South African, her mother was Sunderland-born – thus allowing him to represent England at the internationals.
(2) Brother Dylan (aged 37 now) too played first-class cricket for Gauteng as a wicketkeeper-batsman in South Africa domestics – the same club that Keaton represented both in junior and senior levels.
(3) The Transvaal-born left-hander led the under-19 South African side in an English tour in 2011. The visitors got the better of the English colts 4-2 in that series.
(4) Earlier that summer, Jennings spent quality time at Durham County under coach Geoff Cook, a friend and domestic contemporary of his father. That rapport with Cook made the English cap no. 675 find a new base at Chester-le-Street and continue to play out a 4-year mandatory term on English domestics to make himself available for national selection. Amusingly, his first English captain would also be another Cook – Alastair.
(5) Last season, Keaton Jennings was named the County Championship player of the year by Cricket Writers’ club. The young prodigy amassed over 1500 runs (second-best ever in a season for Durham), reaching the three-figure mark seven times. Highlights of the season were double tons against Yorkshire and Surrey, twin centuries in a game against Somerset and a T20 career best 88 in the final of NatWest Blast.
(6) Playing for Durham since 2012, he is just one short of 4000 first-class runs. In 66 games that he appeared in, he has slammed 12 centuries and 13 fifties. In all of his four first-class scores of 150 and above, he has remained unbeaten.
(7) He becomes the 18th Englishman to score a hundred in debut Test. Chronologically, the famous club starts with the celebrated G. Grace and has some other illustrious left-handers in it like Graham Thorpe, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook. The other Englishman to get a century at debut in Mumbai was when the city was called Bombay way back in 1933 by Bryan Valentine. The list also features two Indians as well – K S Ranjitsinhji and Nawab of Pataudi – who represented England at the highest level before India achieved independence.
(8) Among the English openers, Jennings is the 8th to achieve the rare feat of century on debut. He is the fifth opener from his nation to score a Test ton away from home on debut and only the second after makeshift keeper Billy Griffith to score it in his maiden innings. His knock of 112 today was also the third-highest overall by an English opener on maiden Test innings – sharing the accolade with South African born, former English captain Andrew Strauss who did it at the Lord’s.
(9) Jennings is the fourth visiting opener to score a ton on his Test career debut in India – the other three being South African Alviro Petersen, English skipper Alastair Cook and former West Indian stalwart Gordon Greenidge. Jennings follows Petersen to score it in his first-ever Test innings itself.
(10) Interestingly enough, four of the last five debutant English centurions were born in South Africa – Andrew Strauss, Matt Prior, Jonathan Trott and now Keaton Jennings. Cook was the only exception.
Photo by Gareth1953 All Right Now