South Africa v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Cape Town, 4th day May 1, 2006

'It was quite a relief' - Amla

Cricinfo staff



'When I'm batting, I try to concentrate on what I'm doing and stay as calm as I can' - Hashim Amla © Getty Images
Hashim Amla was both happy and relieved after his maiden Test century helped guide his side to safety in the second Test against New Zealand.

"It was quite a relief", said Amla of his century. "I felt that I was under quite a lot of pressure and I was fortunate to have Boeta [Dippenaar] there, and then later, Jacques Kallis. He's a fantastic influence at the crease, very calm and collected, and he helped me through some tough patches."

Amla, who had replaced a 'mentally tired' Herschelle Gibbs for this Test, has faced criticism about his technique but said his focus has always been to keep it simple. "I spoke to several top coaches, and they all told me to keep it as natural as possible," he said. "When I'm batting, I try to concentrate on what I'm doing and stay as calm as I can. I always try to keep it simple. I was disappointed to go out on 149 - no-one wants to go out on 149. But I was happy with my first century. I hope it will be a long Test career, and maybe if I can score 50 centuries in my career, no-one will question my technique."

With just one day left and the wicket looking increasingly benign, a result seems unlikely. "It's going to be hard work taking 15 wickets in 93 overs," Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand spinner told reporters. "The deck has only got better, it hasn't scuffed up as much as we thought it would and it's just a good batting deck."