South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock has created a distinct niche for himself as being one of the finest wicket-keeper batsmen around. Yesterday, he reaffirmed the faith by taking a blinder to send Tom Westley packing to claim his 100th Test dismissal.
The ongoing series between England and South Africa has seen fortunes fluctuating at regular intervals as England, after winning the first Test, lost the second one and again came back to win the third Test. The fourth Test of the series, which started at Old Trafford yesterday, was also an absorbing day of cricket - attritional, hard-fought and compelling. What added more charm to the day was the way De Kock managed to pull off a stunner behind the stumps that saw Tom Westley taking the long walk back to the pavilion.
In the 40th over of the game, Kagiso Rabada bowled a good length delivery that held back and drew the edge off Westley’s blade on the back foot block. Westley, fresh from a second-innings fifty on debut at The Oval, didn’t have any answer to the outstanding delivery as he nicked it wide of the wicket-keeper, De Kock. While it required outstanding reflexes for anyone to get a hold of such a tough ask, De Kock made it look so very easy by flying to his right horizontally with his glove stretched out and grabbed it from first slip's range. This was also De Kock’s 100th Test dismissal and what a way to pull that off.
After that, England's batting line-up never really got going despite all of the top-seven reaching double figures. Ben Stokes top scored with 58 while Joe Root made 52, the tenth consecutive Test in which he has scored at least a half-century. But undoubtedly, now, South Africa can fancy their chances of keeping their record of not losing a series in England since 1998.
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