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Quinton de Kock outshines Keaton Jennings to stay top of the class | Barney Ronay

The young South Africa batsman played like a lord on a spree for his half-century against England, creating one of those passages where all else melts away

For an hour or so before lunch on another lavish Lord’s Saturday Quinton de Kock seemed to be playing a different, more decorative game to everyone else. Often in sport you hear talk of a player taking the occasion by the scruff of the neck. As the Lord’s crowd cooed and gurgled De Kock did something else, taking the third morning of this first Test by the small of the back and twirling it elegantly around that huge lush lime-green garden square as it baked quietly in the midsummer sun.

There are different kinds of super-talented cricketers. Some wear their gifts heavily, others like a whalebone corset, attentive at all times to the burdens of extreme talent. At Lord’s De Kock went out and played like a man in a pair of gold-leaf flip-flops, racking up the second-fastest Test half century on this ground, and confirming that he is one of those genuinely rare cricketers who even at this elite level can look like the most effortlessly brilliant boy in the class.

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