The Standard Bank Proteas will need ‘something special’ from their remaining batsmen for a rear-guard fightback on the fourth day of the day-night Test match against Australia at the Adelaide Oval. Stephen Cook 80* and Quiton de Kock 0* are the last specialist batsmen in the line-up, and hold the key as they look to build on the 70-run lead in the second innings.
Proteas batting coach, Neil McKenzie, says a total of between 180 or 200 will be sufficient to put the hosts under pressure, but that will be reliant on the partnership between Cook and De Kock on Sunday.
“There is another opportunity for us tomorrow to try and capitalise on a big partnership,” he said. “Stephen Cook, you know what you are going to get with him, hopefully he converts with his track record. You also have Quinton de Kock who has been magnificent this whole tour. I’m hoping that Quinny can produce the ‘Quinton de Kock’ knock that everyone knows he can do and has been doing of late
“We have two big days left and tomorrow is the biggest,” he explained. “There is a lot of fight, we are not on the plane yet. We have a big partnership tomorrow; we still have a couple of guys that can do damage at the backend. We also have a bowling unit that is raring to go, they will leave everything out there whether we get bowled out tomorrow or bat until further into the evening. “
McKenzie is pleased with Cook’s efforts, and hopes he can capitalise with a big hundred after putting in a gutsy performance after a tough series so far. Cook boasts a first-class record of 38 hundreds at an average of 41, and will look to put his stellar conversation rate to the fore in a challenging Test environment.
“Cook is one of those hard-working cricketers,” McKenzie said. “He is old school, he does it his way, he doesn’t always look pretty but he has a method that has worked for him. He has nearly 40 first-class hundreds, so you don’t mess too much with the technique. Mentally he is right up there as one of the toughest guys that is playing cricket at this stage, he has endured a lot of noise about his technique and the way he goes about it.”