A swashbuckling 85 by Quinton de Kock has boosted South Africa to 421-8 at lunch on day two at Centurion.
The Proteas couldn’t have asked for more of their wicketkeeper-batsman on day two. De Kock took the fight to the England bowlers. He scored quickly and effectively to strengthen South Africa’s grip on this contest.
The hosts lost Temba Bavuma and then Kagiso Rabada inside the first 30 minutes of play. They may have slumped to a total of 350 or less had De Kock failed to respond in an unconventional manner.
That said, things may have been different had England taken some early chances. De Kock edged the first ball of the day, but it fell short of wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow. He flashed at James Anderson again in the third over of play, but Ben Stokes failed to hold the catch.
From there, De Kock made the visitors pay for their mistakes. He continued to go hard at any delivery outside off-stump. He reached what was his third Test 50 in just 68 deliveries.
During this period, De Kock received some outstanding support at the other end. Kyle Abbott defended well and played a few stunning strokes. Together, the pair added a valuable 50 runs to the total.
Abbott was eventually trapped lbw by Stokes. The breakthrough did little to hamper the Proteas’ run-rate. De Kock continued to give it horns at the other end.
He presented England with a further chance right before lunch. Chris Woakes pitched the ball up, and De Kock attempted to hit him over cover, but only succeeded in finding the edge. The ball bisected Bairstow and Alastair Cook, and went for four.
Following the loss of Bavuma and Rabada, the Proteas would have been thrilled to reach 400. Thanks to De Kock, they are now in a position to post 450 or more.
After lunch, De Kock will aim to score his maiden Test century. He has already surpassed his previous highest score of 81.
For ball-by-ball commentary, click below:
SA 421-8 – Stephen Cook 115, Hashim Amla 109, Quinton de Kock 85 not out, Moeen Ali 2-75