Batsman Quinton de Kock expressed relief after graduating to a century in South Africa’s 71-run victory over Sri Lanka in the third ODI at Kingsmead in Durban.
De Kock struck 83 in January’s final ODI again Pakistan – and 81 and 94 against Sri Lanka earlier this series. He also struck three half-centuries against the Sri Lankans in Test cricket last month.
Sunday’s 121, then, marked a welcome conversion to three figures. The hard-hitting left-hander struck 16 fours and twin sixes in an entertaining 108-delivery stay, which propelled the Proteas to a final total of 331 for five.
The opposition’s pursuit was hampered by a substantial delay due to rain, which adjusted the target to 193 in two dozen overs. Sri Lanka only managed 121 for five.
‘I have been scoring a lot of 80s and 90s lately, so getting a century was pleasing for me,’ said De Kock.
‘I train really hard and make sure to be in my groove. A lot of practice can be mentally tiring, so I try to stay away from that. It’s just a mental thing. I have been hungry to score big runs. It’s a good mindset I am in that’s working for me.’
Triumphant captain Faf du Plessis confirmed that the hosts’ squad for the remainder of the five-match series will be announced on Monday. It will likely feature returns for batsmen Aiden Markram and JP Duminy, who have been in fine form for the Titans and Cape Cobras respectively in the One-Day Cup.
‘Rain-affected games are not nice, but we bowled well up front. We have two more games to go and the plan is to look about the big picture and implement our plans. The selection for the remaining two ODIs will be released on Monday,’ added Du Plessis.
St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth will host the fourth ODI on Wednesday. The fifth and final match will be played at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.