Quinton de Kock revealed that his battle with Jeetan Patel fueled his performance on day two of the second Test in Wellington on Friday.
The 24-year-old was in fine form, scoring 91 off 118 balls as he helped the Proteas recover from a rocky start which saw them reduced to 94-6 (30.3).
Patel’s duel with De Kock started when the 36-year-old was called up in the fourth ODI to target the Proteas’ left-handers, and he instantly made an impact, removing the youngster for a duck. De Kock’s bad run continued and he was dismissed three more times by Patel.
De Kock was well aware that he would face Patel within minutes of walking out to the crease and prepared himself accordingly.
‘I was looking forward to the battle again,’ De Kock said.
‘I have played against so many off-spinners in my life. I know Jeetan is a good bowler and he has me four out of four, but I knew I could still get on top of him if I just put my head down,’ De Kock said. ‘It happened today, so it was nice to finally get one over him.’
Temba Bavuma also starred with the bat to score 89 off 160 balls, and played a vital role to help South Africa take the lead. His 160-run partnership with De Kock swung the momentum back in SA’s favour and De Kock said it was a shift in mindset which helped the pair get the Proteas back on track.
‘We knew the pressure was on us. The mindset was to somehow shift the pressure on to them. I didn’t want to get bogged down, so the only way forward that I knew was to play my natural game,’ De Kock said. ‘I was obviously a little bit more aggressive than usual, but it was something that needed to be done.’
The Proteas ended the day on 349-9, taking an 81-run lead into day three, with Morne Morkel (31) and Vernon Philander (36) at the crease.