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Quinton de Kock got his maiden fifty © Getty Images (File Photo)

By R Vishal

Jul 17, 2014

South Africa stemmed the rot from the first day’s play through a maiden half-century from the mercurial Quinton de Kock against Sri Lanka on Day Two of the first Test. JP Duminy gave good support to De Kock and tailenders Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander also put hefty prices on their wickets on the turning Galle track.

Sri Lanka finished in command towards the end of day one with four quick wickets in the final session of the day’s play. The attack was depleted with Shaminda Eranga hurting the webbing of his fingers and may not bowl again in the Test match.

De Kock and nightwatchman Dale Steyn were looking to blunt the hosts’ attack. Spinners Dilruwan Perera and vetran Rangana Herath were getting quite a bit a turn and the early overs were all about getting their eye in. De Kock was showing some of his One-Day International (ODI) form which has helped him get to four hundreds in six games in his career. The southpaw cut the ball at will and those boundaries soothed the Protea nerves.

Suranga Lakmal then struck by disturbing Steyn’s stumps with a straighter one. The ball went through the ‘gate’. Duminy and De Kock then kept the scoreboard ticking. They were using their feet well but it was the 22 year-old who looked promising. After being rattled by Mitchell Johnson at home during his first taste of Test cricket earlier this year, De Kock had toughened up. Under the sweltering heat and wicked turn of the Galle wicket, De Kock’s positive intent paid off and he got to his fifty.

Immediately after though, the wicketkeeper edged a tidy delivery from Dilwruwan Perera to Mahela Jayawardene at first slip. Vernon Philander took 27 deliveries to get off the mark and Duminy was his stoic self as the hosts went into the hut disappointed at not building on the late momentum they created in the final hour of the first day’s play.

Brief scores:

South Africa 331 for 7 (Dean Elgar 103, Faf du Plessis 80, Quinton de Kock 51; Suranga Lakmal 3 for 50, Dilruwan Perera 3 for 128) vs Sri Lanka

Full Scorecard

(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)