South Africa in Australia 2012-13 November 14, 2012

Australia's intimidation tactics 'humorous' - Amla


In the aftermath of the Brisbane Test, Hashim Amla made light of the Australian attitude of aggression, calling it "quite humorous," and brushed aside any suggestion of being intimidated. Michael Clarke's men brought out their mean side on the final afternoon as they went in search of nine South African wickets in two and half sessions and managed to finish with five.

In the most intense passage of play of an otherwise slow Test, Australia's attack threw everything at the South African top order after Clarke declared 115 runs ahead. In addition to short balls and movement off the seam they also had a lot to say - particularly to Graeme Smith and Amla.

Amla played on against James Pattinson but was not out because the fast bowler had overstepped - the fourth instance of a no-ball wicket in the match. Later in his innings, Peter Siddle thought he had Amla caught behind. A desperate appeal followed with help from David Warner at short midwicket but Amla said he was certain he had not made contact.

"I actually found it quite humorous. Obviously the guys were a bit pumped up thinking I had nicked the ball. I guess it is a bit funny when guys get emotional when there is no real need to," Amla said. "But it's part of the game. I found it quite funny and just enjoyed the moment. It was a nice patch of play for cricket." Amla was out shortly after when he handed Michael Hussey a catch at short cover.

Smith was also dismissed following a period of high drama. Post-lunch, Pattinson launched a verbal tirade on Smith for pulling away when a bird entered his line of sight when Pattinson was in his delivery stride. Smith waved him away and then faced a series of bouncers before edging a fuller ball to gully.

However, the South African captain also gave no credence to Australia's way with words. "There was a lot of noise out there but I couldn't really make out what was being said," Smith said, dismissively. "It was the same as any other game."

Tensions ran high despite the match petering out to a draw. Michael Clarke would have wanted exactly that as he asked his bowlers to try and cause an almighty collapse and he was pleased with the outcome. "I think the aggression and the intent is the way we play our best cricket and I certainly don't want to stop that," he said. "But we understand there's a line and you can go to the line but you can't overstep it."

Australia's oral traditions in the game have long been the source of a South African undoing. To this day Daryll Cullinan refuses to talk about his experiences in facing Shane Warne and the legend of Steve Waugh telling Herschelle Gibbs he had "dropped the World Cup," after he spilt a catch in the 1999 World Cup lives on despite it being fiction.

While the art of sledging is nothing new, the tactics employed in the Brisbane Test may sound suspiciously close to the 'dossier' which made headlines in the lead up. Both coach Mickey Arthur and Clarke denied the existence of the document and said some of the information contained in it was never discussed by the team.

Although they did not go into the specifics, it was thought that one of those would be to sledge Amla. It was a surprising strategy because Amla is known for his calm demeanor and difficult to rough up. It was also seen as fairly defeatist and made it seem as though Australia had no other ideas to stop Amla from scoring.

In the first innings, that may have been true. Despite nervous strokes and a number of edges, Amla notched up another Test ton. As Australia went for the win, though, they bowled far tighter lines, had better control over their length and even a player of Amla's quality struggled.

While Clarke believes that achievement will give Australia momentum and the mental edge going into Adelaide, Smith was not convinced. "I think a draw was a reflection of both teams."

Amla was also not ready to heap praise on Australia's bowling determination and said that while their attack is very good, "in my opinion, the South African attack is the best in the world." He also used it as an opportunity to punt his own part-time offspin as he followed up with a joke on what to expect in the second Test. "I was really disappointed when Graeme took me out of the attack after just two overs but he said he is resting me for the next Test."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Owen on November 16, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Haha, Amla is a legend! Whilst I am not a huge fan of Smiths batting, he seems to play the game in the right spirit as do most of the Saffers. clarke and the australians on the other hand...

  • Dummy4 on November 16, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    Every one giving comments, the main thing is should ICC take any action?? did the showed any ambition in this regard?? NO .. then ... no need to comments.

  • V.L on November 16, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    Aus fans getting pumped up should note that SA was one batsman short. The game would have never gotten close if not for that. JP Duminy was Australia's worst nightmare in the previous series and I was hoping he would repeat that. Doesn't matter though. Tahir should be in the squad for the next game at the expense of one of the quicks. As for Aus Starc in place of Hilfenhaus would be good. Will be interesting to see how SA handle the relentless sledging. Too much mouthing off going on and something tells me, that they will end up with a foot in mouth situation! Come on Saffas! Show em' whos the boss.

  • adeel on November 16, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    "But we understand there's a line and you can go to the line but you can't overstep it." ....i've heard and read this line from aust players for so many years that it doesn't hold value or "integrity" anymore! had these two bowlers been from any other country especially from ind, pak or SL they'd be pulled up match referee immediatley...but as one famous Rudy kurdson said "aust play tough cricket so i let them be"...this is after he was asked why he warned pak bowler danish for over appealing and not warne when he does the same..the world is not a just place is it...Mr Clarke !!!

  • Kavin on November 16, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    LOL it must be this hopeless lil fellow...i forgot his name..ahh what was it? Umm oh yeah Warner! LOL! He screams like lil girl from point and Amla replies "WHATTTTTTT?" i can't hear you kid!!! ROFLMAO!

  • Isaac. J on November 16, 2012, 1:41 GMT

    It may be easy for Amla top dismiss Australia's constant sledging as funny .. may be he wants to be diplomatic but it is high time something be done about this form of ridiculous behavior on the cricket field.Everytime Aus is under pressure they bring out this horrible and disgusting behavior.Can the ICC get involved and take action..I think cricket is the only sport that allows this filthy behavior to exists. The world is watching and sledging only pleases arrogant players especially the notorious Aussies Please keep the game clean...a cricketer

  • Ben on November 16, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    Always get a good laugh out of the Indian fans whinging about sledging. Even when it's in a game where India is not playing. Every team sledges, it is as much a part of the game as batting, bowling or fielding. Good sledging gets your team fired up to perform well and can mentally impede the opposition. South Africa, England and Australia have all had some world class sledgers. Boucher, Botham, Pietersen, Smith, Merv Hughes, Warney, Matthew Hayden, Flintoff. Amla is playing the game with a very straight bat here. Press conferences are all part of the psychological battle.

  • mir on November 15, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    What a humble person is Amla. Australians should learn to be humble, which they cannot. They want to win by creating trouble through words and not by playing good cricket. Best Wishes to Amla. I am sure next time will be a hammering of Ausis bowlers.

  • Dummy4 on November 15, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    hahaha its so funny when Aussies talk about other batmes haginf 'chances' specially when most of then their own bowlers overstepped or dropped catches lol. Just to remind these 'cricket fans' when the bowler over steps the ball is ILLEGAL there is no 'chance' after that has happened. also review you home test matches and see how many not outs your players have intimidated out of umpires over time and also how many times your batsmen have 'stood their ground' when they have nicked it.

  • Raunak on November 15, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    Always talking about the best bowling attack and other things..Mate ur team was flushed out from a winning position to a losing one and ur best bowling attack was hopless and out of sorts..

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