A long lean spell of quick dismissals tested the self-belief of Zak Crawley, the relieved England opener acknowledged after scoring an unbeaten century on day four of the first Test against West Indies on Friday.
Crawley stamped himself as potentially a high-order batter to lead England for years to come when he made a home double century against Pakistan in 2020, but that innings total of 267 proved to be a false dawn.
He hardly even had a chance to get his eye in before being sent packing, failing to reach double figures in 11 of his 16 subsequent appearances at the crease.
Crawley’s scores brought to mind the experience of former Australian captain Greg Chappell, who once endured a similarly poor spell amid calls that he should be dropped.
But Chappell said at the time that he was getting out too quickly to know whether or not he was out of form, and he finally came good again.
So too Crawley, who eventually found firmer footing in Australia during the recent Ashes tour, and his rich talent was on full display at the Viv Richards Stadium on Friday, a knock that would have done proud the man after whom the ground is named.
“It means an awful lot," Crawley, 24, said after ending the day unbeaten on 117 as England earned an overall lead of 153 runs with nine wickets in hand in their second innings.
“It’s been a while since my first ton and there were times last year when I didn’t think I’d get (another) so I’m very pleased with the performance and pleased with the position we’re in."
Crawley shared in an unbeaten 193-partnership with captain Joe Root (84), whose calm presence certainly did no harm.
Root advised Crawley to play each ball on its merits, rather than trying to force the issue.
“He was telling me to stay concentrated and we just had to weather those storms (of good bowling) and come back and score more freely at times," Crawley said.
“He’s such a calm head and so experienced I took a lot from him and he played beautifully himself."