Sheer may­hem from Quinny the Slayer

Phehluk­wayo shows great ma­tu­rity and com­po­sure

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART HESS

NO AB. No Hash. No prob­lem. There was Quin­ton de Kock.

In 142 min­utes of sheer may­hem, De Kock surged past Her­schelle Gibbs’ epic knock of 175 to reg­is­ter the high­est score by a South African against Aus­tralia, and stomped all over an at­tack lack­ing gen­uine pace and ripe for the pick­ing. ing-room about tack­ling what nu­mer­i­cally was a big chase – es­pe­cially in the ab­sence of the Proteas’ two finest bats­men – then De Kock as­suaged any such ten­sion with a thun­der­ous early as­sault.

He sus­tained that bril­liance over the course of nearly two- and- half hours at the crease, and the crowd were in rap­tures.

The mer­cu­rial opener re­ceived ex­cel­lent as­sis­tance from Amla’s re­place­ment at the top of the or­der, Rilee Ros­souw, who pounded the ball mur­der­ously on his way to 63 off just 45 balls.

The open­ers brought up the hun­dred in the 12th over but rather than coast, De Kock turned on the af­ter­burn­ers.

The ball was dis­patched to all parts – in­clud­ing a cou­ple of scary in­ci­dents, one in­volv­ing um­pire Joel Wil­son when a straight drive from De Kock,

hit him on the arm, and then one of the 11 sixes struck by the left-han­der hit a spec­ta­tor on the head, who re­quired med­i­cal as­sis­tance.

The Aus­tralians, who left Mitchell Starc and Josh Ha­zle­wood along with a num­ber of other quicks at home, copped a bat­ter­ing. None of their bowlers had econ­omy rates be­low seven and, re­gard­less of where they bowled, De Kock sim­ply slayed them.

The only ques­tion was whether he could break Gary Kirsten’s na­tional ODI record of 188* against the UAE 20 years ago.

Sadly, he couldn’t but it hardly mat­tered; 142 min­utes, 113 balls, 16x4 and 11x6 for 178 runs. The num­bers are stag­ger­ing, but it was a su­perb per­for­mance from De Kock. The Aus­tralian bat­ting plan in the first half of the day was a sim­ple one – swing hard and of­ten. David Warner and Aaron Finch only know one way to bat and they set the tone against Dale Steyn, play­ing his first ODI since Oc­to­ber last year, and Kag­iso Rabada. The bat­ting was bru­tal, the bowl­ing in­con­sis­tent. The hosts didn’t want to ap­pear too pre­dictable, but per­haps that messed with their minds, par­tic­u­larly Rabada and Wayne Par­nell, who con­ceded a com­bined 119 runs from 18 overs, shar­ing five wides. The short ball was in­ju­di­ciously utilised and from Par­nell, there were too many half- vol­leys while Rabada’s lines were way­ward.

Thank­fully for Faf du Plessis, who won the toss and chose to bowl, there was Phehluk­wayo to pro­vide some con­trol and wrest the ini­tia­tive away from an ini­tially ram­pant Aus­tralian lineup.

The rookie played his part in the dis­missal of Warner – mov­ing neatly to his right to poach a catch in the cov­ers to give Par­nell his only wicket.

Phehluk­wayo’s dou­ble strike in the 13th over gave the Proteas a way back into the in­nings.

He shook off the as­sault Finch dished out in his first over, when he con­ceded 16, to dis­miss the opener in his next over with Par­nell tak­ing a fine div­ing catch at short fine- leg.

The big blow came three balls later when he trapped Aus­tralia’s cap­tain Steve Smith in front lbw for just eight.

With the ex­cep­tion of Ge­orge Bai­ley, who con­structed a fine in­nings of 74, the re­main­ing bats­men kept go­ing hard, but only No 8 John Hast­ings con­trib­uted any­thing sub­stan­tial.

Their sev­enth-wicket part­ner­ship gave the vis­i­tors a to­tal that looked a good one.

Phehluk­wayo, who added Mitchell Marsh to his tally of vic­tims – thanks to a su­perb div­ing catch by De Kock – re­turned at the back of the in­nings, and the com­po­sure that was such a fea­ture of his do­mes­tic play last sea­son came to the fore in the big­gest match of his ca­reer to date.

He man­aged to mix up lengths and pace with greater dis­ci­pline than his team­mates. The wicket of Hast­ings – caught on the long-off bound­ary for 51 – was im­por­tant as he and Bai­ley were just set­ting them­selves up for a late charge.

HEAR ME ROAR! Andile Phehluk­wayo cel­e­brates his dis­missal of Steve Smith yes­ter­day.

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