Heinz Schenk and Sapa-AFP
1 minute read
5 Nov 2013
6:00 am

Amla boost for run-shy Proteas

Heinz Schenk and Sapa-AFP

Protea batsman Jean-Paul Duminy said star performer Hashim Amla's return will be a big bonus for South Africa in the third one-day international against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi tomorrow.

FILE PICTURE: Hashim Amla of South Africa. Picture: Duif du Toit /Gallo Images.

Amla, ranked second in Test batsmen rankings, left for home to attend the birth of his second child after the first of two Tests in the series which ended 1-1.

He missed the first two one-days – won each by South Africa and Pakistan – before joining the squad on Sunday, despite the delay in the birth.

“Hashim’s return is a bonus but there’s no guarantee that he will come and score runs. He’s probably given us the best starts in the ODI format – he’s the best in the world – so it’s great to have him back,” Duminy said yesterday.

Besides Amla, the return of pace spearhead Dale Steyn will also bolster South African bowling. Steyn had left for home to rest after the second Test.

Amla’s return couldn’t have come at a better time. Confidence in the order has probably reached its lowest point in some time following last Friday’s 66-run loss.

The cracks were apparent already in the series’ opening victory, when merely a Pakistani implosion papered over them.

South Africa’s totals since their semifinal exit at this year’s Champions Trophy in June makes for some very depressing reading.

Including that batting misadventure at The Oval, the Proteas batting order has only reached 200 twice in seven completed innings (even in their rain-shortened chase during the second game of the Sri Lanka series they were struggling at 104/5 after 21 overs).

Their highest score is a mediocre 238.

On five other occasions, the totals read 175, 140, 179, 183 and 143.

It doesn’t require the application of rocket science to deduce that those aren’t match-winning numbers.