The Quin-ton that mattered: Rain forces abandonment of 3rd ODI but not before he hits third century

Quinton de KockQuinton de Kock became the fifth player in ODIs to score centuries in three consecutive matches (Photo: BCCI)

You could have called it youthful exuberance or just the brashness of having reached three figures in his previous two innings. Not that he hadn't done it before. In fact, charging the bowler has been one of the more eye-catching facets of Quinton de Kock's batting during the series.

But you could almost sense the whole of SuperSport Park lose a heartbeat as the 20-year-old jumped out of his crease, made room, and looked to smash Mohammad Shami through the covers only to mistime it.

Fortunately the ball went back to the bowler on the bounce. De Kock received a death stare from the bowler.

By then the entire Centurion crowd was on its feet. Only four batsmen before him had scored centuries in three straight ODI innings in history, including two South Africans in Herchelle Gibbs — who was at the ground doing commentary in Afrikaans — and AB de Villiers, the man at the non-striker's end. The next delivery, de Kock stayed back in his crease, flicked the length delivery behind square and that was it. The baby of the South African dressing-room had just accomplished a feat that only few men before him had ever done.

Though he did survive two dropped catches during his knock, there almost seemed a sense of inevitability that he would get there.

Unfortunately, constant rains that commenced right after the South African innings ensured that the third ODI was called off, giving the hosts the series by a 2-0 margin. But not before de Kock , AB de Villiers, who scored a sensational and customarily entertaining century and David Miller had taken their team to 301 for 8 and rendered another beating-down to the hapless Indian bowlers.

But the day once again belonged to the boy wonder from Johannesburg. While he played shots all around the ground once more, it was his foot-work that was the most eye-catching. Nimble and precise, and always with the intent to score runs. No wonder then that he left both the crowd and probably even the Indian bowlers surprised with his failure to connect with the middle of his bat after rushing out against Shami. It wasn't the first time during the day that he charged down the crease to the Indian fast bowlers. He's made a habit of it over the last 10 days. Never though has it seemed like he's doing it with a sense of false bravado. There's always been conviction. Off the 36 boundaries he hit during the series, close to 40 per cent have come when he gave the bowler the charge.

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