India v England, 4th Test, Mumbai December 8, 2016

Ray Jennings in dark for Keaton's debut ton

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'It's a dream come true' - Jennings

When Keaton Jennings was on 96, the electricity at the holiday resort his parents are staying at in Mauritius was cut. They sat in the dark for the next hour, not knowing whether their son had made the milestone.

"It came back on when he was on 111 and then he scored one more run and he was out," Ray Jennings, former "Mean Machine" wicketkeeper, decorated coach and proud father told ESPNcricinfo. "My family have sent me some videos of the shot that got him to the hundred."

So it will be the clip of the reverse-sweep, and not a family selfie on an idyllic beach, that occupies pride of place among the Jennings' holiday photos, a holiday Keaton was supposed to be on. A week ago, Keaton's December plan was entirely different. He was captaining the England Lions in the UAE and was due to meet his parents Mauritius on December 10. They were heading there a little earlier - last Wednesday actually, the same day Keaton got called up to the England Test squad. "I was in the air when he got picked so I missed that too," Ray said.

From South Africa, Mauritius is part of the way to India and Ray may have been tempted into taking another flight and being present to witness was he was certain would be a Test debut in Mumbai, but he didn't. "It's my son's space," he said. "It's his tour and I didn't want to get in the way. It's his domain. I knew once Haseeb Hameed broke his finger that there was a 98% chance he would be playing but I also knew it was going to be tough."

Ray's concern was that the odds were stacked against Keaton ahead of his first match. "To go from South Africa to England to Dubai to India and into a series where the side is two-nil down, where you don't know really anyone besides Ben Stokes, and then to open the batting in India there is definitely going to be pressure. But I knew he would need to figure out how he is going to handle that."

Although Ray was his son's first coach, he did not want to be the one offering advice and was happy to watch from the sidelines and see what Keaton could come up with. Now that he has seen it, he could not be more proud.

"This is my best day of sporting life. My nerves are shot," Ray said. "You train your kid from the age of five and you see the fire in him, you see his disappointments and his success. It's just wonderful. This is his glory."

After a week of only communicating via the occasional text message, Ray plans to have a proper chat with Keaton, "after he has connected with his girlfriend and all the other messages he would have got". Until then, he is content to enjoy life by the Indian Ocean at the end of a remarkable 2016 for Keaton. "You can't buy what he has had in the last six months - from captaining Durham, to the Lions, to the call-up. Now all it needs is for England to win this game and the next one and walk away with a drawn series. That will be a dream 2016 for any cricketer."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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