As a player, Proteas batting guru Neil McKenzie can remember the way his heart used to sink when Adam Gilchrist strode out as Australia’s Test No.
Tall, powerful, ferocious – Gilchrist gave the Australians offensive punch at a time when opposition bowlers thought the worst was over.
McKenzie sees the same anguish in today’s Test players, including the Blacks Caps, when Quinton de Kock marches to the crease.
The 24-year-old South African wicketkeeper-batsman picked up a fast and furious 90 off 118 balls in his side’s first innings against New Zealand on Sunday, thumping 11 boundaries and two sixes in less than a day’s play at Seddon Park.
A plumb Neil Wagner lbw eventually nabbed the Johannesburg native before he could secure a fourth Test ton, but the damage had already been done as de Kock had hauled his Proteas side to a respectable total of 314.
“Firsthand, Gilchrist used to do that for Australia, where you know that if he stays there for an hour, he’s going to have 30 or 40 and, in a partnership, 70 or 80 runs for that session (while) scoring quickly,” McKenzie, a veteran of 58 Tests, said.
“I didn’t enjoy watching Gilchrist walk in.
“At this stage it’s a very cushy No.7, seeing Quinton walk in when we’re in a bit of trouble, it gives the guys a lot of confidence.”
After struggling with the willow in the side’s first Test in Dunedin, de Kock exploded into life in Wellington a week later, blasting a quick-fire 91.
But the Titans player’s 90 in Hamilton was made even more remarkable by damaged tendons causing him grief in his right index finger.
McKenzie admitted de Kock needed an anti-inflammatory or two to pull on the batting gloves after skipper Faf du Plessis demanded he play.
Yet his quality shone through as South Africa look to wrap up the three-Test series and extend their 1-0 lead.
“De Kock is a very good player, his record speaks for itself,” Black Caps bowling coach Shane Jurgensen said.
“He’s a very unique player, fast hands, must have a fantastic eye and just really dangerous.
“He puts the pressure back on the bowler.”
New Zealand will begin at 0-67 on day three in Hamilton, which is likely to experience extended periods of rainfall.