Cricket 25.1.2018 02:45 pm

Proteas hanging on through sheer Amla class

South African batsman Hashim Amla (2nd R) raises his bat as he celebrates scoring half century (50 runs) during the second day of the third test match between South Africa and India at Wanderers cricket ground on January 25, 2018 in Johannesburg. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

South African batsman Hashim Amla (2nd R) raises his bat as he celebrates scoring half century (50 runs) during the second day of the third test match between South Africa and India at Wanderers cricket ground on January 25, 2018 in Johannesburg. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

The bearded stalwart’s superb 50 was the highlight of a fairly dreadful post-lunch session for the home side against India.

The value of Hashim Amla for the Proteas was laid bare at tea on the second day of the third Test against India.

As the rest of his teammates struggled to get any runs off a challenging square, the bearded stalwart was superb.

Despite a few close shaves from two LBW appeals, Amla looked more comfortable than any other batter in this game as he reached an unbeaten 54.

And boy, did South Africa need him as their wobbly score of 143/6 in reply to 187 suggests.

He received some excellent support from nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada, who steadied the ship well with a gusty 30.

Rabada was beaten outside off countless times by the seamer duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/34) and Ishant Sharma but he rode his luck and eventually played with some surprising freedom.

There were two beautiful flicks on the leg side outside off off Jasprit Bumrah, the 22-year-old nonchalantly lifting his legs when completing those shots.

Rabada even charged Kumar for a superb drive over extra cover.

It was rather deflating to see him go just before the interval but Ishant did square him up with a nice, shorter delivery.

 

That led to a period of Indian domination.

AB de Villiers (5) was castled by a magnificent in-swinger from Bhuvneshwar and Faf du Plessis left Bumrah’s skiddy in-ducker on his stumps.

By the time Quinton de Kock (8) continued his shocking run of form, the Proteas were staring down the barrel at 125/6 before Amla and Vernon Philander resisted.

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