Shikhar Dhawan smashes it
Sri Lanka v India, Galle, 2017

Shikhar Dhawan wasn't included in the Test squad for Sri Lanka. However, his phenomenal run in Champions Trophy - he was the leading run-getter with 338 runs at 67.60 - kept him on the radar. He was included in the tour party once it emerged that M Vijay hadn't completely recovered from his wrist surgery. Dhawan warmed up with 41 in the tour game. On the opening day of the series in Galle, he ran Sri Lanka's attack ragged, smashing 190, 126 of those coming in the second session. Galle was also the venue of his previous Test century, in 2015.

Keaton Jennings eases into the England setup
England v India, Mumbai, 2017

Keaton Jennings was the last addition to an England squad ravaged by injuries, and reeling from a 2-0 reversal after three Tests in a five-match series. Having been overlooked in favour of Haseeb Hameed earlier, Jennings came on as his replacement. He was flown in straight from England Lions' tour of the UAE, and slotted straight into the starting XI. He cashed in on an early reprieve to make 112. It was among the rare positives for England, during an otherwise forgettable tour.

Alastair Cook, Jennings' opening partner in the 2017 Test mentioned above, himself had a similar initiation to Test cricket, in 2005. With Marcus Trescothick flying back home due to a stress-related illness and Michael Vaughan's dodgy knee ruling him out, England turned to their A side, then on tour in West Indies, to secure a replacement. They eventually picked Essex left-hander Cook, who flew across continents - from the Caribbean to Nagpur - for 48 hours to get his Test cap. Cook more than justified his inclusion by following up his first-innings 60 with a century in the second, becoming the youngest Englishman to score a Test hundred.

Everton Weekes silences the boos
West Indies v England, Kingston,1948

Having been dropped for the series, Everton Weekes was called up at the eleventh hour for the fourth Test. But multiple flight delays meant he was mid-air when the Test began. He found out about his inclusion in the XI only after reaching the ground. When he replaced his Jamaican substitute finally, it was met with boos from the Kingston crowd. Weekes, though, smashed 141 runs in the first innings to set up a win for his side.

Another Cook, another fabulous debut
England v New Zealand, Lord's, 1983

Back in 1983, another Cook - Nick - had a fine first game, after being called in to replace Phil Edmonds, who had injured his back while getting out of his car. Like a man who had been playing at the highest level for years, Cook eased in to the England side at Lord's, wrecking the New Zealand batting order with match-winning figures of 8 for 125. Cook would go on to play 14 more Tests for England, finishing with an impressive 52 wickets, including three more five-fors.

Srinath Sripath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo