Momentum now with the Proteas

FILE PICTURE. Hashim Amla. Picture: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images.

FILE PICTURE. Hashim Amla. Picture: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images.

Wise in his own understated way, Hashim Amla’s reasoning for the advantage now lying with the Proteas going into the deciding third Test against Australia at Newlands starting on Saturday, hits the nail perfectly.

“Winning the second Test gives us momentum and confidence,” he said.

“Guys got hundreds, and the attack are bowling well. It’s probably a better situation going into the final Test having won the second.”

The bearded talisman probably knows better than anyone why South Africa are in such high spirits – he was one of those “guys” who “got hundreds”.

Yes, the Proteas have placed themselves in this good position because they have the spirit and conviction to tackle long odds – and being a bowler short after Wayne Parnell’s groin problem – but the more obvious reason is that underperforming key men found form.

Dale Steyn stole the show with a robust, mesmerising spell of reverse swing but Amla’s sublime unbeaten 127 was just as significant.

His slump wasn’t a long one but what bugged him was the manner of his dismissals.

At the Wanderers against India, he was bowled twice without playing shots.

Two times in this series, he was caught on the crease and trapped in front.

Amla’s technique looks peculiar but for the first time in ages, subtle questions over technical deficiencies were creeping in.

“Sometimes you go through a few innings where you don’t score runs. It’s happened to everybody. There’s no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself. I’m just glad I managed to get some runs and put the team in a really good position to win it,” he said.

As a testament to his resolve, he did so with the pain from a dislocated finger.

“We managed to numb the pain occasionally. I had it strapped up quite nicely too. There were times in the innings when the painkillers wore off.”

For men who bat in bomb shelters though, such inconveniences rarely bother them much.




today in print

today in print