Warwickshire's Alex Loudon, who was dropped from the full England squad despite having little chance to impress on the tour of Pakistan, proved his worth with a fine innings on the opening day of England A's three-day match against Antigua and Barbuda.
Loudon, whose only first-class century came for Durham UCCE in 2003, fell agonisingly short of three figures, but could feel consoled with the part he played in rebuilding his side's total after a middle-order stumble.
There was less good news for the Worcestershire members of the team. Vikram Solanki and Gareth Batty managed just one between them before falling to the pace of Gavin Tonge.
Essex's young opener Alastair Cook also pressed his claims for a place in the full England squad.
Cook, who was called into the full squad in Pakistan, cracked a century as the tourists closed on 341 for eight. He shared in a stand of 82 for the first wicket with Michael Yardy before the Sussex opener fell to Adam Sanford for 47.
Three quick wickets after lunch - Owais Shah (18), Solanki (one) and Ed Joyce (nought) - rocked the tourists.
However, 21-year-old Cook (101) was not to be denied his hundred and played some delightful strokes to all corners of the Antigua Recreation Ground before eventually falling to Wilden Cornwall.
Loudon and Rikki Clarke saw England into tea on 205 for five, and pushed the tally on to 249 upon the resumption when all-rounder Clarke (27) was undone by Cornwall. If Antigua thought they were gaining parity they were mistaken, however, as a 92-run partnership between Loudon and wicketkeeper Chris Read saw England re-take control.
Loudon finally fell just five runs short of his hundred, caught by Ian Tittle off Justin Athanaze, leaving Read unbeaten on 40 at stumps.