De Kock century gives SA whip hand in Hobart

The wicketkeeper-batsman’s 104 frustrated Australia’s bowlers for nearly the entire session at Bellerive Oval.

South Africa’s batsman Quinton de Kock celebrates his 100-runs on the third day’s play of the second Test cricket match between Australia and South Africa in Hobart remained on 14 November, 2016. Picture: AFP.

HOBART – Quinton de Kock shone on a gloomy day in Hobart with a sparkling century that propelled South Africa to a commanding 203-run lead over Australia at lunch on day three of the second test on Monday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman’s 104, in a defiant 144-run partnership with Temba Bavuma, frustrated Australia’s bowlers for nearly the entire session at Bellerive Oval before he was bowled by Josh Hazlewood.

Bavuma was 74 not out at the break, with paceman Vernon Philander on three, the Proteas having taken full advantage of a bloodless bowling display to push to 288 for six.

After rain washed out day two, De Kock and Bavuma resumed on 171-5 and moved to their half-centuries with ease.

As the seamers laboured with the ageing ball, the pair were rarely tested and feasted on a rash of loose deliveries as the Proteas piled on 117 runs for the session.

Untroubled by the first spells of front-line pacemen Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, the pair exploited debutant fast bowler Joe Mennie and spinner Nathan Lyon.

De Kock raised his fifth half-century from five innings with a contemptuous slog off Lyon’s loose second ball and skipped down the wicket to loft him over mid-on four deliveries later.

Australia blew their only real chance to dismiss the in-form 23-year-old, who was on 72 when wicketkeeper Peter Nevill failed to glove a Lyon delivery cleanly and missed a stumping chance.

The new ball brought little succour for the home side, who lost a review out of desperation with a caught-behind appeal on Bavuma dismissed when he was on 57.

De Kock hammered Mennie off his pads to the fence past midwicket to reach 99 with his 16th four and poked a single square to complete his second test century.

He took off his helmet and raised his bat, soaking up the applause of a modest crowd in a low-key celebration.

After smashing one more four, De Kock was bowled with a loose drive at Hazlewood.

Moments later, Australia lost their second review, with Mennie’s appeal for lbw on Philander waved away by the third umpire.

South Africa thrashed Australia in the series-opener in Perth by 177 runs and are now in the box seat to push for victory despite the loss of a day’s play to rain.

The third and final test, the first day-night match between the teams, starts in Adelaide on 24 November.