Cape Town - Quinton de Kock has described his debut as an opener in the second Sunfoil Test match against New Zealand in Centurion as a proud moment in his career.
De Kock volunteered to move to the top of the order after Dean Elgar’s injury, and made an impressive showcase on a ‘tough’ pitch which assisted seam and swing movement.
He and Stephen Cook put on only the third hundred-run opening partnership before lunch for South Africa (Barlow/Goddard 118* and Smith/Gibbs 118* were the other pairs), and displayed the perfect balancing act of aggression and defence.
"Opening the batting in Test cricket is an underrated job," he admitted after the opening day.
"It’s a different level of test, the different skills that you face aren’t the same as opening the batting in one-day and T20 cricket.
"With the ball moving around a lot it tests out your technique and patience. I learnt a little bit about myself today, which is nice going forward, but I think it’s more for Dean (Elgar) and Stephen (Cook), I’ll stay there at six and seven.
"I thought naturally at the top of my head that Stiaan (Van Zyl) has had a go there before and that I should do what I can for the team."
De Kock says his innings gave him welcome confidence around his technique and tested him to adapt and style his naturally aggressive game plan. He expects the conditions to stay the same over the next few days, and hopes the current in batsmen, JP Duminy (67 not out) and Faf du Plessis (13 not out) can grind out towards a big first innings total.
"I learnt where to be tight and how to play certain balls," he said of his 82 off 114 balls, which included 79 dot balls.
"There were certain things in my technique, I think it’s the most that I have left the ball in my professional career to be honest. I’m proud of myself for doing that, I don’t normally do that. It’s nice to know that I can do that at the back of my head.
"I think it will stay the same movement wise off the wicket,” he said of the pitch. “I think it will get a bit quicker, this morning it was a bit soft and spongy but it started quickening up through the day as it got harder. I think it will play the same, it will be a good wicket and we will probably take it to the fifth day."