South Africa handed De Kock boost ahead of crucial Black Caps Test


South Africa received a major boost on the eve of the third and final Test against New Zealand after wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was passed fit to play.

The big-hitting left-hander damaged a tendon in his right index finger during the Proteas' second-Test victory in Wellington, which gave the tourists a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

De Kock sat out team training on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the match in Hamilton but captain Faf du Plessis confirmed at a news conference on Friday that he will be fit to play.

"It's a big game. Quinton is someone who you don't just replace. From my side, I am trying to have Quinton in my team all the time," du Plessis said. 

"He has had problems with his fingers for quite a while. It's part of being a keeper. It's never nice to catch balls on the fingertips all the time and it's been painful for him for a while. 

"Maybe the cold New Zealand conditions make it worse. It's hurting him a bit more now but, because it's a big game, resting him for someone else is not an option."

De Kock, whose status for the lucrative Indian Premier League with Delhi Daredevils remains in jeopardy, made a crucial 91 as part of a 160-run stand with Temba Bavuma in the first innings of the second Test after South Africa's top order had failed to deliver.

And Du Plessis called for a stronger showing from his top order.

"The standard we set for ourselves as a batting unit is extremely high and we haven't delivered on that," he added. 

"In every series we've played there have been one or two guys that have put their hand up and that's been great. 

"But, if we don't have those guys who save us on the day there would have been a few times we would have been rolled out cheaply."