Quinton de Kock not only accepted the challenge but he asked for it, and took full advantage with a fluent 82.
When Dean Elgar rolled his ankle in training on Friday night, the resultant injury ruled him out of the Test. The question was, who was going to replace him at the top of the order? Was Stiaan van Zyl going to reluctantly return to that role? On Saturday morning, Quinton de Kock made life easier for everyone by reportedly asking skipper Faf du Plessis if he could fill in.
So it was Stephen Cook and De Kock who strolled out to bat for the Proteas, and one got the sense that a big knock could well be on the cards for De Kock, with nothing to lose in that position and looking to make amends for his calamitous dismissal in Durban. With a little bit of luck along the way, he duly delivered, scoring 82 from just 114 balls, including 15 boundaries. It’s most likely going to be a very temporary role, but what a way to force yourself into form.
It was also the first century opening partnership for the Proteas in 35 innings. The last time that was achieved was against India in 2013, and to put it into perspective of just how long ago that was, it was Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen who did it.
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