Quinton de Kock falls short of a 100 as Proteas bowled out for 298
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JOHANNESBURG – Quinton de Kock fell four runs short of his second hundred in the series, as South Africa were bowled out for 298 on day two of the second Test against the West Indies in St. Lucia.
All the action as far as wickets were concerned came in the 20 minutes before the scheduled lunch break, and it happened so quickly, that lunch was eventually taken 25 minutes later.
De Kock had given the South African innings some important impetus in the last session of the opening day on Friday, and while he was more circumspect on Saturday, he nevertheless remained in control.
The start of play was delayed by half an hour because of rain, with South Africa resuming on 218/5, with De Kock on 59. As expected the West Indies immediately took the second new ball although putting it in the hands of young Jayden Seales and Jason Holder was the wrong move.
It allowed De Kock and Wiaan Mulder to eke out 21 runs in the opening half an hour of play, on a pitch where scoring is difficult.
The fact that it was the wrong decision, was shown up almost immediately, when Kemar Roach, bowling the seventh over of the day, took just four balls, to dismiss Mulder with a ball that angled into the right hander, and held its line, catching the edge of the bat and giving wicket-keeper Joshua da Silva an easy catch.
Mulder made just eight, but it was a hardworking innings, in which he faced 39 balls.
De Kock and Keshav Maharaj made steady progress thereafter, sharing a seventh wicket partnership of 36, with neither looking troubled by the West Indies quick bowlers, bar Roach, whose lines and lengths were impeccable.
Approaching the lunch break, South Africa looked like they were setting themselves up for the afternoon session where, as the first day showed, batting does become slightly easier, with another De Kock assault, as he produced in the first Test in the offing.
Enter Kyle Mayers, whose dismissal of South African skipper Dean Elgar late on the first day, lifted the home team’s spirits, to turn the session around for the West Indies.
First Maharaj, drove at a full length ball from Holder that left him off the pitch offering Da Silva another catch. Maharaj applied himself better on Saturday than he did with the bat in the first innings, facing 52 balls in making 12.
De Kock meanwhile was closing in on a hundred, but the loss of Maharaj may have made him anxious. Mayers, again bowling from around the wicket, got the ball to move away from the left handed batsman, the ball deflecting off Da Silva to Shai Hope in the gully.
De Kock was understandably disappointed, having put in so much hard work in the first session and trying to give himself the kind of foundation from which he launched in such stunning fashion last week. Nevertheless his 96, which came off 162 balls, and included eight fours, was another invaluable contribution, underlining his terrific skill.
Mayers picked up his third wicket, but had Seales to thank with the 19 year old, putting in a full length dive to his left at midwicket to hold onto an excellent catch to dismiss Anrich Nortje for one.
Kagiso Rabada, struck some elegant drives as South Africa closed in on 300, but they fell two runs short of that psychological landmark when Lungi Ngidi shipped Roach to substitute fielder Darren Bravo after scoring one. Rabada finished not out on 21.
Mayers and Roach took three wickets each, with Shannon Gabriel picking up two.