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De Kock earns praise for gutsy display

20   //    26 Mar 2017, 14:43 IST
quintondekock - cropped
South Africa batsman Quinton de Kock

Quinton de Kock was praised by South Africa batting coach Neil McKenzie after battling through a finger injury to top score for the Proteas on day two of the third Test with New Zealand.

De Kock suffered tendon damage on his right index finger prior to the final match of the series in Hamilton, the 24-year-old only being cleared to play on Friday.

The wicketkeeper was able to bat and catch with strapping and a finger splint, and did not let his injury hamper him as he struck a crucial 90 to help South Africa post 314 in their first innings.

His resolute display at Seddon Park earned the praise of McKenzie, while also impressing New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen.

"Quinton's a unique player, he knows his game really well for a young guy," McKenzie said.

"His workload's been dropped [because of his finger], hasn't caught as many balls as he would have liked to, and obviously there's a few tablets, anti-inflammatories, but Quinton doesn't mind, he just gets on with it. But I definitely see that he's very uncomfortable.

"He's just a genuine talent, and he's had a huge year for us."

Jurgensen added: "De Kock's a very good player - his average speaks for itself.

"Their lower-order batters, credit to them. They've got solid techniques, they got a few away today and we probably didn't quite execute as well as we wanted too and they got a few boundaries away."

The Black Caps reached 67-0 in reply, Tom Latham (42 not out) and Jeet Raval (25no) reducing their deficit to 247 in a match the hosts must win to tie the series.

"We've had a good start - the game's evenly poised," said Jurgensen. "I think we're in a good position but [there's] still a lot of work to do and maybe more rain around."

Jurgensen was particularly impressed with New Zealand's bowling unit given they are operating without seam duo Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

"Considering no Tim and Trent ... I thought it was a fantastic effort," said Jurgensen.

"Matt Henry, who's been waiting for an opportunity all summer, he's presented himself beautifully. He attacked the crease, always asked questions. He's been bowling well in domestic cricket and he's brought that up to international cricket.

"Wags [Neil Wagner] was probably a bit frustrated yesterday but again just keeps running in and to grab the last few wickets today was really important."

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