Amla leads South Africa to number one

29 August 2012

South Africa made sporting history on Tuesday evening after an 80-run victory over England in a one-day international at the Rose Bowl in Southampton made them the first team to be ranked number one in the world in all three forms of cricket.

The crushing victory not only took the Proteas to number one, it also ended a run of 10 wins on the trot in the one-day format for the hosts.

Leading the way, as he has done throughout South Africa’s tour of England, Hashim Amla also made it into the record books. With a man-of-the-match winning knock of 150 off only 124 balls, he became the fastest man to 3 000 runs in ODI history.

Bettered record

He bettered the record of the great Viv Richards, and it wasn’t even close. The West Indian legend reached 3 000 runs in his 69th ODI innings. Amla did it in 57 innings.

The two men represent a great contrast in batting styles. Richards, who never wore a helmet, simply blasted bowling attacks to all corners of the ground with a take-it-to-’em attitude. Amla achieves similar results, but in a vastly different manner, placing the ball with seeming ease, and using his wrists to create angles and runs.

By the end of the match, Amla, ranked number one in one-day internationals and number two in tests among batsmen, had scored 3 031 runs at the remarkable average of 58.28. His figures include 10 centuries and 18 half-centuries.

Highest score

Tuesday’s 150 was his highest score yet in ODIs and the sixth highest ever by a South African. The man on top of the list is Proteas coach Gary Kirsten with 188 not out against the UAE in the 1996 Cricket World Cup.

AB de Villiers (124), who contributed 28 runs to South Africa’s batting effort, became the fourth-fastest man to 5 000 runs in ODI history behind only the West Indian greats Richards (114), Brian Lara (118) and Gordon Greenidge (121).

After De Villiers opted to field, Amla and test captain Graeme Smith gave the Proteas a solid platform in testing conditions, putting on 89 for the first wicket before Smith departed for the game’s second highest score of 52.

All about Amla

The rest of the batsmen provided some assistance without really getting going, but the innings was all about Amla, who was out with three balls remaining in the innings, trying to manufacture a boundary with a late, lofted cut.

The Proteas totalled 287 for 5 in their 50 overs, leaving England needing to bat at 5.76 runs per over to win.

Graeme Swann led the England bowlers with a haul of 2 for 50 from his 10 overs.

When they visited the crease, England’s reply began poorly when Lonwabo Tsotsobe cleaned bowled captain Alastair Cook with the second delivery of the innings.

Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell then put on 64 for the second wickets before Trott departed for 23.

When Bell fell for 45 off 41 balls, with the score on 77, England were struggling. A lot rested on the shoulders of Eoin Morgan, who had twice previously scored ODI centuries at the ground, but he couldn’t up the run rate.

All but done

When the left-hander was out for 27 off 48 balls the English challenge was all but done as they slumped to 159 for 6 in the 34th over.

Some late, lusty hitting from Samit Patel, with 45 off 51 deliveries, made things look a little better for England, but they came up well short, bowled out for 207.

Every one of the seven South African bowlers used, excepting Ryan McLaren, picked up at least a wicket, with Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell and Robin Petersen all removing two batsmen.

Dean Elgar, playing in only his second ODI, snapped up 1 for 11 in his three overs of left-arm spin and claimed two catches to make a good impression.

Difference

The most obvious difference between the two teams was Amla, who made batting look easy on a testing pitch. He offered some chances, but the ease with which he seemed to score his runs made it look as if he was playing a different game to the rest of the players.

South African captain AB de Villiers declared himself happy with the result afterwards, while England skipper Alastair Cook said: “We didn’t play very well, in all three aspects”, and that summed up the match very succinctly.

Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material