A sequence of 3, 10, 32 and 8 in the two Tests didn’t make for happy reading for de Kock, but with South Africa totalling 126, 73, 124 and 290, his failures didn’t stand out too much.
But 47 in 59 balls and 87 in 78 in two successful chases in the ODIs have made him feel slightly better about himself.
“Obviously I am feeling more satisfied than I was in the Test matches, it was quite tough then,” he said after his knock from the top of the order helped South Africa win the second ODI by four wickets and earned him a Player of the Match award. “Coming now into white ball, change of format, starting to add some value to the team is always nice. It’s great also to be on the winning side in Sri Lanka, so all things are good at the moment.
“Coming from the Test series, it was quite difficult to play spin, especially when the wickets are given a chance to deteriorate over a couple of days. So it’s nice to come into white-ball cricket, you know the spin is going to be a bit more truer. We practiced hard during the Test series to deal with the spin, so it’s nice for me and for the team to finally be playing spin properly.”
South Africa’s wins in the two matches have been set up by their bowlers, who have kept Sri Lanka to 193 and 244/8.
“In the one-day format, it’s always nice taking wickets up front,” pointed out de Kock. “That’s the goal for any bowling side. The more wickets you take up front, the more you can control in the middle, so yes, that’s the plan.”
Once the bowlers were done, it was over to the batsmen, and de Kock partnered Hashim Amla (43) for 91 runs to set up the chase before carrying on to put the game beyond Sri Lanka’s reach.
“I think Hash’s demeanour is very relaxed. We keep each other very calm. That’s what we do well together. It was just wonderful to get along with him and score some runs together with him,” said de Kock.
And now, he hopes to do it again in the third game, and then the fourth and the fifth, to wrap up a series whitewash.
“It’s the mission going two-nil. Hopefully three-nil, and then winning the series will also be a great way, to go through the series and hopefully win the last two after that,” said de Kock. “The Test series was obviously a tough one for us, so we’re trying to play our best cricket now in the one-day format.”
First Published: August 2, 2018, 11:53 AM IST