26 February 2014
South Africa will carry vital momentum into the third test against Australia in Cape Town starting this weekend, Proteas batsman Hashim Amla said in an interview on Tuesday.
After being thrashed by 281 runs in the first test in Centurion, Graeme Smith and company bounced back with a 231-run victory in only four days in Port Elizabeth in the second test that ended last weekend.
The Proteas’ victory over Australia at St George’s Park was one of the most memorable fight-backs he had been a part of, said Amla.
“Over the last few years we’ve had quite a few fight-backs,” he explained. “I say fight-backs to win the test, as well as fight-backs to hold on to the draw, like the matches at The Wanderers and Adelaide. Over the last few years there have been some really memorable test matches, and this last one is one of them because we came out on top.”
The win in Port Elizabeth was all the more remarkable because Wayne Parnell was lost to the bowling attack after only 8.3 overs due to an injury. Now the Proteas head to Newlands, which has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for them.
The last time South Africa lost at the Cape Town ground was way back in March 2006, when they went down to Australia. Since then they have won eight and drawn three at Newlands.
Those results include victory by an innings and 20 runs over the Aussies in 2009 and a remarkable eight-wicket win in late 2011 after being skittled for only 96 in their first innings. That was followed by Australia being bowled out for just 47, which included 5 for 15 from Vernon Philander on his debut.
‘We have momentum’
“Newlands has been a happy ground for the Proteas over the last few years, but Australia is a good team,” Amla said. “There is a lot riding on the last game, and fortunately we have momentum and that is what we are going to try and take carefully into the match. Going into the last test, it will be important to assess the conditions as soon as we can.
Looking back, he added: “Players got hundreds and the bowlers bowled well, it’s a better situation to be in going in one-all, having won the second test.”
Test batting rankings
Amla is back to second in the test batting rankings, trailing only AB de Villiers, whose mark of 935 points is tied for the tenth best of all time and equal highest with Jacques Kallis for the best by a South African.
Amla’s unbeaten 127 in Port Elizabeth was his 21st test century, which equalled the number of centuries scored by Gary Kirsten and left Amla third on the all-time South African list of century makers, behind only Jacques Kallis (45) and Graeme Smith (27).
‘I play every game like it’s my last’
“I play every game like it’s my last,” Amla said of his latest century.
“I’m grateful to have reached 21 hundreds, it feels like just the other day that I started playing International cricket. It’s also great to contribute towards a winning cause, it’s the best thing when you score runs and your team wins.”
The third test at Newlands starts on Saturday, 1 March.
SAinfo reporter and Cricket South Africa