Friday, October 4, 2019

The boy's a genius (but we are still keeping Quinton down).

South Africa ended the third day of their first Test vs India 385/8, still 117 runs behind India's first innings total of 502/7. The stars of the day were undoubtedly Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock, with both batsmen reaching hundreds. Following the nightmare that was the 2015 Test series in India, you could have been forgiven for expecting the worst when The Proteas came out to bat. You could also have been forgiven for assuming that the worst had come to pass when the Proteas ended day two on 39/3, a harrowing reminder of the last time the boys were in India.

But today went against script. Led first by Dean Elgar, the Proteas showed a value for their wickets which should stand them in good stead. It's almost a cliche to call Dean Elgar a nuggety cricketer. He values his wicket, is willing to put his body on the line during his innings, is the first to arrive at the gym and the last to leave, etc etc. The real star of the show though, entertainment wise at least, was Quinton de Kock. We've mentioned before that Quinton de Kock is good at cricket. But there are certain guys who are so good at what they do, they make people who are good at the same thing seem not as good at cricket.

Earlier this week, we discussed the possibility of Quinton de Kock moving higher up the order and dropping the gloves. The Proteas did not listen to the latter part my advice, keeping the gloves in his hands, but they did move him up one, to #6. He did end up batting #7, but that was only because Piedt was nightwatchman. Arguably, the most important part of his success was when he came in, 178/5 is still a slightly dicey score, but 57.2 overs had gone, which meant that the Indian attack had begun to wear down. And boy, did Quinny capitalise on their weary souls. Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been to left-handers what the hammer has been to the nail, looked clueless for the better part of the day against the genius that is Quinton de Kock. Cuts, late cuts, drives, pulls, hoicks. Quinton played everything under the sun. The jury is still out on whether or not your best player can REALLY be a wicket keeper, it is not ideal for your gun batsman to have been squatting for 130 overs before having to play the innings of a lifetime. But for one single day, it wasn't just god enough, it was magnificent.

In art, you see the genius after the work. Sport is unique in that you see the process. On a beautiful afternoon in Vizag, in front of the largest cricketing nation in the world, a genius from the little "village" of Johannesburg painted his finest work of art yet. It was too beautiful to be called a Rembrandt, if anything, it was a Monet. Striking, colourful, unique in its design.

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