Asked to bat, de Kock (70-ball 94) and Faf du Plessis (57) got South Africa to a commanding position before Sri Lanka made a stunning comeback to bundle them out for 251 in 45.1 overs. In reply, Sri Lanka could only survive 32.2 overs and were bowled out for 138.
Having made 83 and 81 in his previous two ODIs, and scoring 86 and 80 in two Tests against Sri Lanka, de Kock smashed Vishwa Fernando for four boundaries in the second over to announce his arrival. The left-hander kept the attack going and went after almost every Sri Lankan bowler from the word go.
Lasith Malinga was the only bowler who managed to contain de Kock to some extent. The 26-year-old raced to his 20th ODI fifty only in the ninth over. Meanwhile, Reeza Hendricks, took his time and allowed the wicketkeeper-batsman to dominate and do most of the scoring.
The 91-run stand finally came to an end when Malinga had Hendricks caught at fine leg for 29 with a short delivery. De Kock, however, didn't stop the assault and went after spinners Dhananjaya de Silva and Akila Dananjaya.
The Proteas were 131 for 1 at one stage, but the innings changed dramatically when Thisara Perera, playing in his 150th ODI, had de Kock caught behind when the batsman tried to flick a ball outside his leg stump and the ball looped off a leading edge to wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella. De Kock was in sublime form, striking 17 fours and a six, and hung his head in disappointment after missing another chance of making a century.
Thisara followed up by having Rassie van der Dussen caught at deep midwicket for 2 before bowling South African captain Faf du Plessis out with a ball which kept low. Despite Du Plessis making 57 off 66 balls, the innings never regained its early momentum. South Africa, having picked only five specialist batsmen, lost their last six wickets for 31 runs.
Du Plessis, however, did manage to become the 10th South African batsman to cross the 5000-run mark in ODIs. Regular wickets allowed other bowlers to make comeback and it didn't take them too long to clean up the tail.
For Sri Lanka, Thisara took three wickets while Malinga and Dhananjaya managed two each.
The target was never going to easy and South African pacers made it even more difficult by picking up early wickets. It all started with Kagiso Rabada (3 for 43) claiming his 100th ODI wicket in form of Niroshan Dickwella (6), getting him caught behind. Lungi Ngidi (2 for 14) then knocked over Avishka Fernando (10) before Anrich Nortje (2 for 25) got the better of Kusal Perera (8) as the visiting side were reduced to 52 for 3.
Oshada Fernando (31), Kusal Mendis (24) and Dhananjaya (15) were able to spend some time in the middle but not one could carry on and fell to the duo of Nortje and Rabada.
The entire burden once again fell on the shoulders of Thisara (23) who tonked Imran Tahir (2 for 39) for back to back sixes before falling to the legspinner on the very next delivery. It hardly took South Africa few overs to pick up the remaining wickets and get the job done.
The third ODI will be played at the Kingsmead in Durban on Sunday.
First Published: March 6, 2019, 11:21 PM IST