Bavuma and De Kock find their groove

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 17:  Temba Bavuma and Quentin de Kock of South Africa celebrate their 100 run partnership during day two of the test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Basin Reserve on March 17, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 17: Temba Bavuma and Quentin de Kock of South Africa celebrate their 100 run partnership during day two of the test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Basin Reserve on March 17, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock’s chemistry in the lower-order showed another promising highlight on day two of the second Test match against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Friday.

Their 160-run seventh-wicket partnership is the second instance this season – to go with their 144-run six-wicket stand against Australia in Hobart – through which the pair has changed the course of the match with a positive and resolute performance under pressure.

The pair averages 63.11 in 10 innings they have batted together, with two hundred-run and fifty-run stands to their tally. Top-scorer, De Kock, says the duo’s long-standing relationship which started at the bizhub Highveld Lions has allowed them to bring out the best in each other during the tough periods together.

“Temba and I enjoy batting together,” he explained after the day’s play on Friday. “It’s great to get into a situation like today with a guy whom I have played with my whole career. We are comfortable with each other and the way that we do things, we know each other’s game plans.”

There was extra pressure and expectation on the wicket-keeper batsman when he walked to the crease with the score on 94/6, following his struggles against New Zealand’s off-spinner, Jeetan Patel, who has dismissed him four times this tour. The instinctive and attacking batsman says he ‘expected’ Patel to be brought on when he walked to the crease, but stuck to his natural game plan, which earned him a brilliant innings of 91 off 118 balls.

“Going into bat we knew the pressure was on us from New Zealand,” he said. “The mindset was to try to move the pressure back on to them. I didn’t want to get bogged down, the only way forward I knew was to play my natural game. It was a little bit more aggressive than usual but it was something that needed to be done, that was the plan walking in.

“Not at all,” he said when asked if he was affected by the Patel bogey. “I have played against so many off-spinners throughout my career. I know Jeetan is a good bowler and he did have me four out of four times but I knew I could still get on top of him if I put my head down. Luckily it happened today, it’s nice to finally get one over him.”

The squad is hoping Vernon Philander (36) and Morne Morkel (31) can extend the ‘handy’ lead which stands at 81, but also have one eye on their bowling response in conditions which still have a lot to offer. Morne Morkel was given the all-clear after a hit to the helmet by the mandatory on-field concussion protocol along with a full-screening after the day’s play. The same assessment will be repeated on Saturday morning to check for any changes overnight.