De Kock lets the world know how he feels about scor­ing fourth Test ton

Pretoria News - - SPORTS - STU­ART HESS Stu­[email protected]

There was a yelp of, “YEEAAAHHH!” a big leap, a big fist pump and a hug from one of his clos­est mates, Rabada, who had ear­lier in­ad­ver­tently blocked a sin­gle that would have taken him from 99 to 100. It has been two years since a score­board in a Test match last flashed 100 next to De Kock’s name.

Given his in­no­cently blithe out­look it can ap­pear that De Kock doesn’t think much of land­marks. How­ever, his cel­e­bra­tion of the cen­tury yes­ter­day showed that he does. As did the way he showed his ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the crowd after he was dis­missed.

Yes­ter­day’s in­nings meant a lot to De Kock.

In the two years be­tween Test cen­turies, De Kock has still man­aged to pro­duce cru­cial in­nings for the Proteas. There was the 91 at the Basin Re­serve in Welling­ton against New Zealand two years ago, an in­nings that de­liv­ered South Africa from a pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion of 94/6, pro­vid­ing the foun­da­tion for a se­ries-clinch­ing win.

There was a 68 in the first in­nings against Eng­land at Trent Bridge in 2017, a suc­cess, but part of a larger se­lec­tion fail­ure on the part of the Proteas then des­per­ate to fill the hole at No 4 left by AB de Villiers’ ab­sence.

His 83 in the Dur­ban Test against Aus­tralia last year was for­got­ten in the wake of the stair­well drama with David Warner, but it was a cru­cial in­nings in show­ing the tourists that South Africa could play dirty, too.

In this se­ries his 45 in the first in­nings of the first Test helped mar­shal the Proteas’ tail, get­ting the hosts a lead in that match.

De Kock and Hashim Amla had shared a stand of 102 for the sixth wicket on Satur­day night, and con­cluded in front of a more sub­dued crowd yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Nev­er­the­less the ef­fect on the match has been pro­found. South Africa set Pak­istan a tar­get of 381. Al­though the odd ball is fly­ing past the out­side edge, the pitch is still largely play­ing true and Shan Ma­sood and Imam-ul-Haq reg­is­tered the tourist’s first 50 part­ner­ship for the first wicket of the se­ries.

A spell of high-qual­ity fast bowl­ing from Steyn put a halt to Pak­istani op­ti­mism when he re­moved both of them.

Azhar Ali’s mis­er­able tour con­cluded when he was bombed out by Duanne Olivier – the fourth time that has hap­pened in the se­ries – and de­spite some lovely bat­ting from Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam in the last half hour, the task re­mains an ar­du­ous one if they are to end the se­ries with a con­so­la­tion win to­day.

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