Proteas batsman Hashim Amla says the testing batting conditions upfront have put the South African batsmen in good stead. Amla, ranked No.1 on the ICC ODI batting rankings, was speaking on the back of his 11th ODI century, which set up the Proteas’ 34-run victory in the third Momentum ODI against Pakistan at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.
Pakistan’s seamers have made early inroads into the Proteas’ batting line-up in both the last two matches, but Amla says the top order is learning to cope with the batting difficulty upfront which requires patience and caution.
“They bowled really good lengths, like back of a length and the wicket itself was a bit tacky so the ball didn’t really come on to the bat,” he said. “Whenever we tried to score, the ball hit the splice and it didn’t go past the inner-ring. We found it quite difficult, but we kind of knew that the first 10 overs were going to be difficult so we kept re-assuring ourselves and, if you hung in long enough, you knew a release was going to come.”
Amla and AB de Villiers broke the world record for the highest third-wicket partnership, their stand of 238 beating the 237 of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar at the 1999 ICC World Cup and shifted the momentum South Africa’s way after the loss of two early wickets.
The two are arguably the most successful batting pair for South Africa in ODI’s, averaging 88 in only 22 innings together.
“I think we rotate the strike quite well,” said Amla, who averages 58.81. “I always enjoy batting with AB because, when he comes in, there is a lot of energy and you know the game is going to go forward. I try to do my thing, get off strike and knock it into the gaps, AB does the same and with that kind of plan of playing risk-free cricket you will get a good partnership.
“We score in slightly different areas and keep each other motivated so maybe that’s why we’ve had a few good partnerships together,” he added.
The tour moves to the coastal conditions of Durban, where spin often play more of a role than elsewhere in the country. Pakistan have a good record at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead, having won four out of seven matches at the ground.
“I’m quite interested to see what we get down there,” he said. “It has been a long time since I played a domestic match for the Dolphins or a match for South Africa. It’s a day game so it won’t swing as much, it usually does so in the evening. It’s usually a good wicket, the scores are not as traditionally high as the Wanderers but, if it turns, their bowlers come into play.”
Tickets for the match are available online from www.ticketpros.co.za, Postnet outlets or at the stadium ticket office.