De Kock ton leaves West Indies reeling as South Africa tighten grip

By Sports Desk June 11, 2021

Quinton de Kock made the biggest hundred of his Test career to ease South Africa into a commanding advantage in the first Test against West Indies.

The wicketkeeper-batsman made 141 not out on the second day in St Lucia, striking seven sixes in an onslaught that none of his team-mates came close to matching.

In response to West Indies' feeble 97 all out, South Africa ran up 322 for a 225-run first-innings lead, before limiting the home side to 82-4 second time around.

The tourists will therefore carry a lead of 143 into day three, with West Indies buckling again and looking set for a humiliating home loss.

De Kock, on four not out overnight, set the tone on Friday when he cut away the first delivery of the morning to the boundary.

The man on the end of that treatment, Kemar Roach, avoided being hoisted for a six by the increasingly aggressive De Kock, but Jayden Seales, Rakheem Cornwall and Jason Holder were each carted twice, while Kyle Mayers was also flogged for a maximum.

Across the day, De Kock made 137 of the 194 runs scored by South Africa's batsmen, the 28-year-old finding little support as he posted his sixth Test hundred. Rassie van der Dussen was out in mid-morning for 46, having added just 12 to his overnight score, Holder (4-75) having him caught by Shai Hope at gully.

The wickets kept tumbling while De Kock continued untroubled, Wiaan Mulder's 25 being the only significant other contribution. Keshav Maharaj perished to a majestic catch from substitute Kieran Powell off Cornwall, the short-leg fielder reaching down to his right to make the perfect grab.

West Indies had no answer to De Kock, and nor did their opening batsmen subsequently know how to handle South Africa's Kagiso Rabada, both Kraigg Brathwaite and Powell pinned lbw by the paceman as the hosts slid to 25-2 second time around. When Anrich Nortje had both Hope and Mayers held at third slip, West Indies were 51-4. A punishing defeat beckons on Saturday, surely.

De Kock's one-man show

The scorecard tells us that there were other South African batsmen involved on Friday, but it barely felt like it. De Kock's performance was majestic and dominant, his innings containing 12 fours and those seven sixes and coming from just 170 deliveries. His Test best stood at 129 before this knock, which he managed against Pakistan in Johannesburg in 2019 and in an undefeated innings at Centurion against England three years earlier.

Innings mauling incoming

West Indies have offered nothing to suggest there is a twist to come in this match. Captain Brathwaite might try to rally the troops, but this is surely all about damage limitation now. The South African quicks again bowled with terrific control, and they must be excited about the prospect of a second Test at this Gros Islet ground again next week.

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