Cape Town - It was far from easy going for the Proteas on day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Cape Town on Monday.
Having lost Stephen Cook on just the fourth ball of the day, the hosts then slumped to 66/3 on a surface that centurion Dean Elgar later described as the greenest he had ever played on at Newlands.
There is certainly a lot in this wicket for the seamers, and Elgar soldiered on to a career-best 129 in incredibly challenging conditions that saw him partner Cook (0), Hashim Amla (29), JP Duminy (0), Faf du Plessis (38) and Temba Bavuma (10).
As those scores suggest, none of the top order could provide Elgar with the sustained support that the Proteas so desperately needed in their bid to take control of the match.
That was until Quinton de Kock walked to the middle.
De Kock is in superb form in all three formats, and that much was evident by the way he made scoring look so effortless on a wicket that the top order had wrestled with all day.
At stumps, De Kock had reached 68* off 90 balls to guide the Proteas to 297/6.
It is hard to think that this is just his 15th Test and it is even harder to think that he was out in the cold and out of form not so long ago.
He now averages well over 50 and moved past 1000 runs on Monday.
According to Elgar, there are few like De Kock in the game right now.
"Quinny is one of those freaks of world cricket," Elgar said at his post-day press conference on Monday.
"His nature of play is not going to change very much. He puts bowlers under a lot of pressure. They tend to think that they’re on top of him, but next thing you wipe your eyes and he’s got a 50 which is great for us.
"I can’t compete with Quinny … he’s a world beater. The moment I start trying to compete with him is when I’m going to fail.
"It’s great to have him in our side. I want him at No 7 in our team. He’s one of those guys who can really kill the opposition."
All eyes will be on De Kock when play on day two gets underway on Tuesday as the Proteas look to go as big as they possibly can.