Quinton de Kock kept things simple as he played himself back into form in the second Test against New Zealand in Wellington.
The precociously talented Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman thumped a brilliant 91 off just 118 balls in a magnificent counterattacking effort that has placed his side in the driving seat.
What made this effort even more brilliant was De Kock’s ability not wall himself off from any negative thoughts regarding Black Caps off-spinner Jeetan Patel.
The tweaker has dismissed him four times in his last four innings.
De Kock knew New Zealand were going to unleash Patel on him early.
But he was ready.
“I knew the moment I walked out the New Zealanders were going to bring on Jeetan,” said De Kock.
“It was obvious. I was actually looking forward to the battle with him.”
The thought of four out of four dismissal never crossed his mind.
“I’ve played against so many ‘offies’ in my life. I know Jeetan’s a good bowler and he does have me four out of four times. I knew I could still get on top of him if I put my head down and it happened,” said De Kock.
“It’s just nice to finally get one over him.”
With that potential stumbling block out of the way very early, the true joy of the 24-year-old’s knock became visible.
South Africa were 94/6 when De Kock walked out to bat.
A cautious man would say he needed to consolidate and be defensive.
That’s not De Kock’s game … and neither, it turned out, was it Temba Bavuma’s.
Their seventh wicket stand of 160 took just 38.4 overs – a run rate of over four.
“We knew the pressure was on us, so we decided to shift the momentum. We would put the pressure back on New Zealand,” said De Kock.
“New Zealand tried to get us out quickly and that presented us with scoring opportunities.”
But he was quick to mention how vital Bavuma, who made a solid 89, was in getting the Proteas back on track.
“We really enjoy batting with each other,” said De Kock.
“It really helps that I’ve pretty much batted with him all my career. Temba was a teammate of mine at the Highveld Lions. We’re really comfortable with each other and know our game-plans.”