Stephen Cook has become just the sixth South African to score a century on Test debut.
With his father Jimmy watching on in the Centurion stands, Cook punched a ball through mid-wicket for two to bring up his 100 off 187 balls.
Cook, 33, has been knocking on the national team’s door since the Proteas were in India towards the back end of 2015, and with Stiaan van Zyl’s continued struggles he was finally given his chance in the fourth Test against England on Friday.
Cook was dropped on 47 by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow off the bowling of Stuart Broad, and then he also survived a run-out scare when he was on 91 – Broad missing the stumps with Cook well short of his ground.
Then, on 98, Cook survived a close LBW shout off Ben Stokes that was given not out but then reviewed by England.
But the Proteas opener got through the ‘nervous 90s’ and has now surely done enough to secure a place in the side when the Proteas next play Test cricket against New Zealand in August.
Jimmy Cook, meanwhile, played just three Test matches for South Africa and was out for a first-ball duck in his own Test debut against India in Durban in 1992.
List of South Africans to make a 100 on Test debut:
Stephen Cook – 100* v England in 2016
Stiaan van Zyl – 101* v West Indies in 2014
Faf du Plessis – 110* v Australia in 2012
Alviro Petersen – 100 v India in 2010
Jacques Rudolph – 222* v Bangladesh in 2003
Andrew Hudson – 163 v West Indies in 1992