Keaton Jennings, who makes no secret of his desire to play for England, hit his first double hundred for Durham.
It did not do much to affect the outcome, a draw on an ever-softening pitch, but it was the latest in a series of highlights for Jennings, son of the iconic Proteas wicketkeeper, Ray.
Jennings was on 185 overnight, and Durham batted on for 55 minutes to add 55 runs in the morning, 36 of those coming from Jennings, powering on to an unbeaten 221, the fifth highest score by a Durham batsman.
The 23-year-old left-hander had batted for 578 minutes, faced 416 balls and hit 23 fours when the declaration came on 507 for eight, Durham’s highest second innings total.
It was his fourth century of the season after starting the campaign against Lancashire with centuries in both innings – only the third Durham batsman to achieve the feat.
Jennings, who made his first-class debut for Gauteng against Free State in December 2011 aged 19, has British citizenship from his mother, who comes from Sunderland, but he was drawn to Durham through the friendship Durham coach Geoff Cook and his father when they played domestic cricket in South Africa, Cook for Eastern Province, Jennings for Transvaal. He was the SA Under 19 captain on the tour to England in 2011.
Back in 2012, after a brilliant showing in the 2nd XI, Jennings made an immediate impact for Durham’s 1st XI. He said at the time:
‘There are a lot of reasons why I have come over here, but you get a good opportunity in the county system. I am all for fairness and if you’re not good enough you can hold your hands up and accept you are not good enough. It was a difficult choice, but in terms of my career I think it was the right one and my dad is backing me 100%.’
His coach today, Jon Lewis said: ‘For three years he has been as hard a worker as you would wish to meet. He’s a very focused guy who wants to be the best he can be all the time. But he has found a better work-life balance so he is more comfortable in himself and doesn’t put himself under as much pressure.’
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images