Ian Bell celebrated a third Test century for England against Pakistan at Lord's yesterday and immediately prepared for the axe.
The compact Warwickshire batsman, playing his first Test of the summer due to Andrew Flintoff's ankle injury, struck 100 not out from number six in a total of 528 for nine declared.
The 24-year-old right-hander accepts it will be the briefest of stays in the side, however, with Flintoff primed to return as leader for the second Test at Old Trafford.
Bell said: "It is unusual but I don't see it as a particularly difficult decision.
"I have come in to replace 'Fred' in this game and when he is fit he plays.
"I am very happy I showed people I can play at this level and from a long-term point of view that's a good thing for me."
Bell has become something of a spare part since last summer when he featured in all five Ashes contests. He was not first choice in Pakistan until captain Michael Vaughan pulled out of the opening Test through injury.
Although he finished the series as top scorer, a poor return in India and the impressions made by Paul Collingwood and Alastair Cook - centurymakers in this match  left him on the periphery.
"It was probably a similar feeling to the one I had in Pakistan when 'Vaughanie' went down and I came in quite late," said Bell, of his thoughts going into the match."Coming in at number six I also tried to play at a different tempo to my usual one. I want to succeed at this level and play hard but I went out to enjoy the day and that was quite important for me to learn to do that, to not put too much pressure on myself."
Bell may have expected to bat earlier when England were 88 for three but a 233-run stand between Collingwood and Cook led to a long wait.
He said: "It took a lot of concentration yesterday [Thursday], sitting there on the dressing-room balcony for four hours watching every ball is quite tiring, more so than I thought it would be. So it was nice to switch off last night and come back in a similar situation to batting at number three on day one."
It has been a promising transition for a team whitewashed by Sri Lanka in oneday cricket, thanks largely to Collingwood's Test-best 186.
Bell said: "What Paul did is what we all have to do as top-order batters, it is not just about getting hundreds but big hundreds."
Flintoff, who practised on the Nursery ground in his bid to increase fitness levels, said of Collingwood: "He's done a great job, he is a real grafter.
"People said he was just a one-day player but he has worked so hard to get into the Test team and he is getting his just desserts out in the middle now with a big century at Lord's. 'Colly' is exactly the sort of player you want walking out behind you when you are leading a side because he is a complete 100 per center and a terrific competitor.
"The one-day series was very difficult for everyone and it's testament to Andrew Strauss that he has lifted the team and they have got into such a strong position."
Collingwood held a spectacular catch above his head, off Steve Harmison, as Pakistan reached 66 for three.
Bell, referring to the nine drops that cost victory over Sri Lanka here in May, said: "We saw from the last Test here that catches win matches and if we can hold all ours we will be right up there towards the end of the game."
Having spent five and a half sessions in the field, the injury-hit tourists showed signs of fatigue in the 19 overs before stumps. Bob Woolmer, the coach, said: "Faisal Iqbal got a snorter, Salman Butt made an error of judgment and obviously so did Imran Farhat. It could be down to concentration and being in the field so long but these things happen."
Woolmer is concerned that Shoaib Malik (elbow) may be ruled out of the entire four-match campaign after showing few signs of recovery.