South Africa stand-in captain Quinton de Kock is happy with the way his team left behind the Test humiliation to bounce back and clinch victory in the five-match ODI series that concluded on Sunday. After losing the two-Test series 0-2, the Proteas won the first three ODIs to seal the victory but finished on a disappointing note losing the remaining two matches.

READ: Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 178 runs

De Kock stepped in after regular captain Faf du Plessis hurt his shoulder during the third ODI against Sri Lanka that ruled him out of the rest of the limited-overs series.

De Kock might have lost his first two matches as South Africa skipper but feels they did the job well as it’s always difficult to win in subcontinent conditions.

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“To come to Sri Lanka and the subcontinent, it is always difficult to win series here,” De Kock said after SA lost the fifth ODI by 178 runs on Sunday. “We saw in the Test matches, it was never easy for us. We came into the ODI s down, and winning the first few matches and the series is pleasing for us as a team. To do it in the first few matches is a big plus, it was never easy initially but we did it.”

Having already taken an unassailable lead after the first three games, South Africa decided to tinker with the playing XI. The frontline seamers Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi were rested from the fourth and the fifth ODI respectively to see how their attack fares without them. Junior Dala went on to make his ODI debut and managed one wicket across two matches but proved expensive.

“Those two (Rabada and Ngidi) are high-class bowlers. They have been around for a while in Test matches and T20 s as well. They are always looking to take wickets, they naturally take wickets and they strike upfront in all formats. That is why we have given some of the new guys like Junior (Dala) and the other seam bowlers a chance to learn how to take wickets and how to bowl in certain situations. That is one positive we will take from the two matches,” De Kock said of the decision.

“When you play the young guys there will always be mistakes made. As long as you learn from it going forward, that is all that matters.

JP Duminy finished as the second-highest run-getter after Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews in the series. He struck 227 runs at 56.75 with two half-centuries and also bagged the Man of the Series award.

De Kock hailed his performance and feels that his energy is rubbing onto the team-mates. “JP has come into the series with a free mindset, it has worked well for him. He is also offloading that mindset onto the team, he is leading the boys well from a batting, bowling and fielding perspective, he is an all-round unit. It is great to have him with us in the mood that he is, he will be a big part of our team going forward,” he said.

South Africa finish their Sri Lanka tour with a lone T20I on Tuesday.