Australia in South Africa 2013-14

Amla wants to harness Port Elizabeth momentum

Firdose Moonda

February 24, 2014

Comments: 110 | Text size: A | A

Hashim Amla's scored his 21st century in Tests, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 4th day, February 23, 2014
Hashim Amla ended a barren spell of seven innings without a fifty in Port Elizabeth © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Hashim Amla
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of South Africa
Teams: South Africa

It's rare for Hashim Amla to deliver the fighting talk, except with the bat, but South Africa's No. 3 believes his side has the edge heading into the series decider in Cape Town. Although both teams earned comprehensive results over each other, Amla said victory in their most recent tussle means it's advantage South Africa going into the final match.

"Winning the second Test gives us momentum and confidence. Guys got hundreds, and the guys are bowling well," Amla said. "It's probably a better situation going into the final Test having won the second."

Amla was one of the batsmen who reached a century in Port Elizabeth, ending a short dry spell that lasted seven innings without a fifty. In numbers terms it was not much, and JP Duminy went the same amount of time without a half-century to his name, but Amla's methods of dismissal were cause for concern. Amla was getting out cheaply either after being caught in his crease and playing down the wrong line, or fishing outside the offstump.

But those technicalities were not on Amla's mind when he approached the second innings in Port Elizabeth because he was dealing with the discomfort of a dislocated finger. "We managed to numb the pain occasionally. I had it strapped up quite nicely too. There were times in the innings when the painkillers wore off," he said. "Sometimes you go through a few innings when you don't score runs. It's part of the game. It's happened to players in the past, it's happened to everybody. There's no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself. I'm just glad I managed to get some runs and put the team in a really good position to win it."

Although Amla played down his own ability, his captain, Graeme Smith, confirmed the dressing room never doubted Amla at all. "He has been incredible and it's only natural that someone will have dips and up curves in a career. For us, it's about knowing the type of people you want involved in your team and Hashim is one of them," Smith said. "It meant a lot to all of us, to see him respond. No one ever questions his ability. He is a real quality cricketer."

Amla's pedigree, statistically speaking, is now equal to Gary Kirsten, who also scored 21 hundreds for South Africa. Of his countrymen, only Jacques Kallis (45) and Graeme Smith (27) have more but like them, the numbers don't mean as much to Amla as much as the context in which they come up. "I play every game like it's my last. I'm just grateful for those 21 hundreds," he said. "It feels like just the other day I started playing international cricket. The best thing is to score runs in a winning cause."

Orchestrating victories is something Amla is developing a knack of. More than half his 21 hundreds, 11 to be precise, have come in wining causes including his double-hundred at Nagpur in 2010, his triple at The Oval in 2012 and his 196 in Perth later that same year. While all those knocks were special for different reasons, Amla cited the latest one as being particularly special because it formed the backbone of one of South Africa's most courageous comebacks.

"Over the last few years we've had quite a few fightbacks - to win Tests as well as draw - like the one at the Wanderers, and the one in Adelaide. There have been some really memorable Test matches, and this one does go down as one of them because we came out on top," Amla said. "The guys applied themselves late in the evening here, we felt we didn't want to leave it to the last day."

Rain dripped over Port Elizabeth on Monday, not as much as was feared but cricket would have been limited. South Africa responded to that by upping the ante on the fourth afternoon to ensure they take a level-playing field to Cape Town, where the now in-form Amla believes they can become the first South African team since readmission to beat Australia in a series at home. "Newlands has been a happy ground for the Proteas for the last few years," he said. "But the Aussies are a good team. There's a lot riding on the last Test and fortunately we've got a bit of momentum."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Barkas_Lungi on (February 27, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

Amla you beauty! You leave us with no option but to respect you even more. I wish there were more Amla's playing cricket.

Posted by hb1970 on (February 26, 2014, 18:09 GMT)

@Chris Kay. I don't believe Amla is captaincy material. I think he's a bit introverted for that. But he's a great asset to the team and Smith is lucky to have him. The power of quiet in a world that can't stop talking. Ha ha ha!

Posted by disco_bob on (February 26, 2014, 11:15 GMT)

@Hareesh Elenthakkal said "...only difference. between. two teams is styen..."

That was true in the second Test, in the first Test it was MJ big a much larger slice. Guess every single game ever played has a player who is the 'difference'.

I think the SAffers are now feeling the consequences of the first test annihilation in a 3 Test series. Can you see the problem, it sort of undoes all the gloating but that doesn't stop you anyway, it's simply a matter of pretending the first Test did not happen, and truth be told the way Mitch was all over you like a hot flannel, it almost seemed that way.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 10:54 GMT)

@disco_bob. .. we really don't expect any aussie to understand how real humility looks like as it is completely absent from aussie minds and actiond so your comments carry no weight. Prefer a record breaking superstar like Amla who talks by performance and humble actions then a Warner-like who blurts nonsense constantly yet his cricket hasn't earned him any respect yet.

Note on Amla. Fastest ever to 4000 ODI runs, and 21 centuries in tests, no batsmen has except Bradman has scored this much in so few games. Complete legend in the making

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 10:46 GMT)

Ozcricketwriter is such a funny man. Your constant predictions and statements like "SA only has 2 good players" are just getting old. And you are right with your option A, SA were caught cold as unfortunately it is in almost every series they play, the 2nd test was back to normal and after the 3rd test please come up with you next set of ridiculous excuses you are almost as bad as the clown you have for an opening batsman

Posted by P0isonal on (February 26, 2014, 3:23 GMT)

Amla the true superstar of the game!! He can perform on every pitch and with every opposition!! I wish my beard grown fast so i can see me like the legend in front of my mirror!!

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 1:58 GMT)

See how stoic he looked, when all others were in such celebrating mood. Captaincy material, perhaps. SA however is challenged as to if not now then never. And as for who are downplaying SA's status as just another home bully, I'd ask them to check the difference when their favorites play home vis-a-vis abroad. SA lose at home a bit more than some home bullies, but they're winning abroad more than anybody else. Deserving No1.

Posted by Chris_P on (February 25, 2014, 22:21 GMT)

@Greatest_Game I can only add to that as well, I also have found you fair, critical (when deserved) but appreciative of our great game. Like you, I rarely disparage opposition players (their own supporters are more than willing if deserved) & always praise good cricket. Amla is only saying what the current situation demands, I mean did he believe that after the first test when we won? Nope, he said they could bounce bounce back (& they did) so it is all moot until the game starts and ends. And, like you, I particularly enjoy these contests between our countries, btw, I had no problem with your team @ #1 even after the first test as the ranking suggests sustained form over a period of time.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 25, 2014, 22:16 GMT)

You have two ways of looking at this:

Option 1 - The first test was an aberration. South Africa were caught on the hop, unexpectedly doing badly at their best test venue, not expecting Doolan and Marsh to do well, and shocked that Johnson was actually as good against them as he was against England. Now that South Africa are used to those 3 players, they can win easily, and will win the third test just as easily.

Option 2 - Far from an aberration, the first test was the true way of looking at things. The second test, in comparison, was a farce with pitch doctoring galore before the start of the match that radically changed how the pitch performed, and they combined that with a different training regime and different players. There are still only 2 quality in form players for South Africa, and, assuming that they don't stoop so low as to doctor the pitch for the third test, it is going to be very hard for them to win.

Depends on your perspective really.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 22:15 GMT)

hats off great amla....what a humble and great player you are

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 25, 2014, 22:00 GMT)

@ Greatest_Game

Do you think that the late season Newlands pitch might be comparable to the Sydney Cricket Ground? It sounds like it from your description which I'm happy about. Something for everyone. I'm disappointed that this is only a 3 test series. It's just getting interesting...

Posted by disco_bob on (February 25, 2014, 21:42 GMT)

The imagery of harnessing (oneself presumably) to 'momentum' is an interesting one because it conjures up an image of a passenger grabbing on to something more powerful than itself and taming it. Unlike the more usual 'carry the momentum into the next game'. I, unlike many here find Amla's self effacing and overly pious denial of worthiness, to be nothing more than false humility. There's no shame in acknowledging ones ability.

Lehmann putting Marsh in the last chance saloon, seemed to have ignited him, albeit for one match. It may very well be that Watson will be told he also is in the last chance saloon, and it could equally ignite something special even if it, like Marsh only lasts for a single match. After all we only need to win the single Cape Town match to inflict considerable pain on SA.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 21:09 GMT)

Doctored pitches, ball tampering, SA dont have the momentum. Whats next! oh wait you didnt say SA had 15 batsman and used a mechanical reverse swing ball yet. Go on now. Lol

The article is written in a manner to hype up the 3rd test saying that, "It's rare for Hashim Amla to deliver the fighting talk,...". Its not fighting talk. He's just being honest and giving his opinion but i personally like the hype. Counting the days to see both teams give it their all. I wish they had a 5 test series. Such a pity to have these 2 and 3 tests between these great cricketing countries.

Posted by StaalBurgher on (February 25, 2014, 19:07 GMT)

If they pick Kleinveldt ahead of Abbott and Alviro ahead of de Kock SA will deserve to lose. Politics has no place in sport.

Posted by fair_paly_1 on (February 25, 2014, 18:47 GMT)

For a top class batsman to say "...average player like myself" and saying he feels embarrassed at breaking Viv Richard's record and yet he often tops the ICC rankings - that is non-comparable personification of humility.

Is there a better or has there been a better sporting role model in the world for anyone to emulate? (This from a non South African and a neutral).

Posted by LegSpinBowlr on (February 25, 2014, 17:37 GMT)

An absolute Legend, and the humility of his batting, wow, i always watch him play and try to emulate him when i bat . Salute to the legend

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (February 25, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

@Greatest Game: well, Warner did punch Root because he was angry with him for mocking Hashim Amla with the detachable beard thingy, so your mentoring idea makes perfect sense :) A match made in heaven!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 25, 2014, 17:23 GMT)

@ Chris_Howard wrote "As an Aussie, I'd just like to disassociate myself from the comments of Ozcricketwriter."

Thanks Chris. You restore the faith that SA's fans have in their most favored opponent. Truly, playing Australia is always exciting cricket with just enough needle to make it really interesting. However, when the needle is exchanged for a bloody axe it changes the series from good sporting rivalry to an ugly war, undeserving of either team, who have both done well to gives us high quality games of the sport we love.

Good luck for Newlands, & may the best team win.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 25, 2014, 17:08 GMT)

@ Ozcricketwriter believes "Amla is still out of form…. South Africa still only have 1 quality bowler (Steyn) and 1 quality batsman (A B de Villiers)."

If Amla is out of form, what about Clarke? A tour ave of 20, conveniently inflated by a timely declaration making abysmal figs look marginally better! Marsh, after bagging a pair, averages better. Johnson averages better. Amla has the 3rd highest tour ave!

Odd how the ICC & the rest of the world disagree with you about Philander. Aus' supposed "best in the world," Johnson, ranks 84 points behind Philander, whose stats make Mitch look like a club trundler, but you think you know better! Vern's 5/15 debut against Aus must have stuck in your craw ever since. You waited 2.5 years for his figures to come down, & they barely moved.

Posted by cheguramana on (February 25, 2014, 16:41 GMT)

Looking forward to a classic series deciding Test match...Saffers firm favorites, all the very Best, guys !

Posted by TestOfTime on (February 25, 2014, 16:21 GMT)

Lol, Hash is the funniest man ever. Probably doesn't realize his greatness yet (hopefully he stays that way). People all over tune in to watch him bat. It's not just the number of runs but the beautiful way in which he builds his innings I really want Smith and Amla score and score big in the next test (the others are doing pretty good already)

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 25, 2014, 15:57 GMT)

@ ShutTheGate noted "I'm looking forward to seeing Amla, G. Smith and Duminey's form on a faster wicket (Newlands) with a bit of movement.

In the last SA vs Aus test at Newlands Smith & Amla scored centuries, against Johnson! Clarke also scored a wonderful 150, and both SA & Aus had awful batting collapses. That was at the beginning of the season, when the pitch is a lot greener than now, as Cape Town has a winter rainfall, and this is the dry period. The wicket should be true, with seam & swing but not extravagant bounce. It traditionally takes spin better than any pitch in SA.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 25, 2014, 15:50 GMT)

"Sometimes you go through a few innings when you don't score runs. It's part of the game. It's happened to players in the past, it's happened to everybody. There's no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself."

Oh the Mighty Hash - he may well be the most humble batting superstar ever. "There's no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself," he said. Yeah - really Hash, you are just an average player, aren't you? You broke Viv Richard's ODI record recently - correction, you smoked it - and then were embarrassed when asked about it.

Aus would do well do contract Hash to teach David Warner some manners. Obviously no one did when he was a youngster, & he gets into trouble every time he opens his mouth. Hash would be the perfect role model & mentor for Warner. He he he - can you imagine. Warner's barely developed brain might use seize up completely, which would not be a bad thing if it stopped his mouth.

Hashim Amla - the beard of fury: legend. Cant but respect him!

Posted by web_guru2003 on (February 25, 2014, 15:47 GMT)

Amla said: "......There's no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself..."

If he is an average player, then I don't even know if ball if round or square.

Thank you Amla for entertaining us with your effortless classic batting in the era when brutality is considered as the #1 sell. You are a role model for young cricketers in particular and for all kids as human in general.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 15:47 GMT)

Hashim's appetite for runs reminds me of Brian Lara.His humility is awesome and so is his skill. Though Australia were beaten in the last test, they would be tougher in the coming test. The Aussie fastmen will use lots of bodyline bowling.South Africa has to be at the top of their game or else the Aussies would knock them over. This last test will be a cracker and I am backing SA to do the business.

Posted by Cool_Joy on (February 25, 2014, 15:00 GMT)

AMLA! You are a class act!

"There's no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself." Being a hardcore cricket fan, I never witnessed such humility from a cricketer. I salute you Hashim!

Humble, a role model to most of the players and fans around the world! Let your bat do the talk and want to see another century in the next match. I love this SA team. AB, you are one of my favourites. Steyn, Morkel, Phil… can't wait for the next match. Go SA Go! Cheers from Canada.

Posted by Vindaliew on (February 25, 2014, 14:22 GMT)

The last two Ashes series were so one-sided that I lost interest by the 4th Test or so. This series, on the other hand, is nothing short of the highest quality on both sides. Hopefully the new ICC structure will allow for 5-test series in the future.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

Amla is an absolute LEGEND!!!!

Posted by Romanticstud on (February 25, 2014, 13:43 GMT)

How can Australia play England in a double 5 match series and only a 3 match series for South Africa ... There is something wrong in that ... How can Hash call himself "Average" ... Only 30 people have more than 21 hundreds ... Only Bradman has got 21 or more 100s in less than 75 matches ...

Posted by SA_FAN315 on (February 25, 2014, 13:20 GMT)

SA has the tendency to start a series badly.......as the series progresses so does their performance.......based on this i'd say 60-40 in favor of SA Excited to see Morne bowl that venomous spell in cape town too...

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 13:10 GMT)

"...an average player like myself" - why Hash is the real deal.

Posted by fair_paly_1 on (February 25, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

On the debate of there is just one good batsman in both teams, just consider ICC rankings. In the top ten player rankings; AB and Amla are no 1 & 2. For Aus, Clarke and Warner are 9 & 10. Then Smith comes at 13 and Rogers 16.

So, there you go. They both have good batsmen but SA edge ahead. ICC rankings are one yardstick but we all know the class of these players.

So, what is Ozcricketwriter talking about?

Posted by Sagarneel on (February 25, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

One of the very very few genuinely humble players around. Whether or not you're a fan of SA, you gotta love this man (along with AB). Plus, the fact that his slump, which was well shorter than many of the so called greats have gone through, goes on to show his stature as a player and the expectations out of him!

Posted by letsgoproteas on (February 25, 2014, 12:39 GMT)

Amla - an absolute legend.

He's a batsmen who gets a taste for runs... and then just keeps scoring.

Hopefully the Proteas work on their fielding this week. The last 2 tests and the amount of wickets we gifted the other team is not the level we expect from them.

Smith is due a big score. So is Clarke, Haddin and I think Johnson had a bad game. The next test will be brilliant.

Posted by RapidCommentsPlz on (February 25, 2014, 12:22 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter Amla is out of form? One bad innings from the legend and you have started your trash! Awesome mate.If SA have just one batsman than guess what?AUS has none!! well in either case it's true that AUS hasn't got anyone except for clarke!! so that's it!! And SA HAS JUST GOT ONE bowler!! man dude you seriously need some medic. It's either that you don't watch much of cricket or you are new to the site. Anyway the world will go on without much of your advice! sorry SA fans!!

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 12:13 GMT)

Lets remember that south africa won both tosses, even if they screwed up first time around by bowling. Australia outplayed the proteas in the first game and got completely outplayed in the second. Clarke is due for a win of the toss and some runs as well. Smith is struggling . I believe if the wicket is not as slow as it was in the last test, we will have a closer game. Both the teams have strong bowling attacks while australlia has a decent spinner. Australia too seems to be holding its catches better than the Proteas. I guess the aussies get the goat of most teams and that is evident by Amla speaking about the momentum, normally his bat does the talking. He is one player who is universally loved. Not so the south african team. Here is hoping Amla does well and Australia wins. Ramanujam sridhar

Posted by KabsCricki on (February 25, 2014, 11:58 GMT)

A rule should be enforced by the ICC whereby 5 test series must be scheduled for any series between the no.1 to no.4 ranked test teams. Neutrals would love that, just as we truly enjoyed the Ashes series...

Posted by Testcricketistop on (February 25, 2014, 11:31 GMT)

If Hashim calls himself an average cricketer, well then I must be a terrible cricketer.

Oh, I am a terrible cricketer.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 25, 2014, 11:28 GMT)

@ jw76 - I agree these two team deserve a 5 match series. Actually test cricket deserves this to be a 5 match series. I'm quite amazed at how many people from neutral countries are following this series.

@ TommytuckerSaffa - Thanks, I appreciate your insight.

Posted by AllroundCricketFan on (February 25, 2014, 10:57 GMT)

This Amla chap is a true gentleman of this sport. If only your KP's, Kohli's and Clarke's were more like him. Cricket would be so much more fun. The mighty Hash as he is called scores more runs. Imagine if he played for one of the subcontinent countries. He would be making triple tons every match. To score at the rate he has in both ODIs and Tests, I don't think it will ever be matched. Good on yer young man.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 10:29 GMT)

@fair_paly_1 hahahahaha...

I love you guys' comments. The comments section always makes my day.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 10:23 GMT)

Oz needs pace and bounce to beat SA, on any other surface they can NOT beat SA, period.

Posted by ZainE111 on (February 25, 2014, 10:21 GMT)

@Jonesy2 - Duminy was SA's highest scorer in the first innings at PE and Morkel was SA's best bowler in Aus's first innings. Your ignorance is excused because, living in Australia, you were asleep for most of the series.

Aus outplayed in the first test and SA outplayed in the second (with a bowler short). Cape Town is going to be a cracker! I'd give SA the edge - their performance usually improves as a series progresses.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (February 25, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

Either way the toss and the start will be important. Both these things will need to go the Aussies way if they wish to win at Newlands.

Posted by tarun_adwani on (February 25, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

In my opinion different between bothside is batting aus batting us weak as compared to sa n that will be the telling blow

Posted by fair_paly_1 on (February 25, 2014, 9:50 GMT)

wapuser

In your first comment you say: "Being an indian, really i love cricket and indian team..."

But in your latest comment you say: "as an aussie I dnt feel comfortable..."

And yet you were from a different country in another article. Do you really know who you really are?

Posted by jonesy2 on (February 25, 2014, 9:46 GMT)

Ozcricketwriter-- what are you taking about?! SA have jp duminy and morne morkel! oh wait morkel doesn't take wickets and duminy takes more wickets than he does score runs. haha you are 100% correct.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 9:46 GMT)

To do this, you have to score a hundred. expecting a cracking match from 2 best test teams in the world

Posted by jonesy2 on (February 25, 2014, 9:41 GMT)

no such thing as momentum is a series sport. if anything its the team coming off a loss that seems to bounce back when two close teams play a series against each other, happens a lot in NBA playoffs. Australia need to make the required adjustments, mental, physical and team and then respond with a series winning performance which i think they will. Clarke will step up and score big important runs like the champion he is, I think pattinson should be put straight into the team to rough up the protea flowers and take big wickets. fight and flare needs to be shown at the right times.

Posted by wapuser on (February 25, 2014, 9:13 GMT)

I think the toss in the last test will be very crucial. Clarke is due for this toss SA won first two. Aus almost always bat first and im sure SA will want a similar pitch to PE for last test. as an aussie I dnt feel comfortable with aus chasing any target even if only 150/200 especially when steyn is bowling balls like steve smith got. Thats the dale steym everyone knows

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 9:07 GMT)

only difference. between. two teams is styen

Posted by anidhoni99 on (February 25, 2014, 9:04 GMT)

The second test is a perfect proof for why the Proteas deserve to be the top tem in the world #combackkings

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 8:58 GMT)

@ Ozcricketwriter - well my dear matey...for a team that has only one quality bowler and one quality batsman, we sure managed to make your team look a little ummm.....PATHETIC!!

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 8:58 GMT)

The Newland's pitch will be the same as always, seam and swing but no excessive bounce and pace. To some of the Aussie fans wanting pace and bounce, that's what you get on the highveld not at the coast. Expect to see Vern, Steyn, Abbot and Morkel getting lots of movement through the air and off the pitch. The new ball will determine who wins this match, SA has the better seam attack (and better batsmen), that's why I'm expecting a SA victory even if MJ can conjure up something special.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 8:56 GMT)

To be honest, oz bowlers did a trick in ashes rather than batsmen. Ozzie bowlers are not gud in slow and low tracks were the pitch won't help the bowlers. In this sort of a wicket, bowlers needs to be clever enough to reverse the ball in both ways like steyn did and make opposition difficult to play in middle overs. Still I feel ozzie team need to have a match winning batsmen rather than Clarke who averaging over 50.

Posted by creebo777 on (February 25, 2014, 8:55 GMT)

Last time pakistan played proteas at newlands it was like a sub continent type of pitch slow with a bit of turn,ajmal took 10 wickets in the match

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 8:41 GMT)

Australia and South Africa are both great teams to watch. Shame they don't play a 5 match series

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 25, 2014, 8:39 GMT)

@Chris Howard Great to hear comments from an Aussie who has his feet on the ground and knows what he is talking about.

@Shut the Gate Newlands offers more bounce and movement off the pitch than PE but not as much as Centurion. Swing bowlers like Vernon and Steyn also do well in Cape Town as they do get swing with new ball. Bowlers who hit the seam consistently, (Siddle, Philander) will be successful as there is good nibble off the pitch but its not a green wicket and you can make runs. It will be a 4 day contest.

In SA we have dramatically different pitches, which probably is a good thing. But slowly they are changing and becoming similar to each other due to T20.

Posted by jw76 on (February 25, 2014, 7:54 GMT)

It is a crying shame that South Africa and Australia never play a five-Test series, lasting over at least two months so the players can stay fresh and remain able to give their best at all times.

Posted by munna_indian on (February 25, 2014, 7:53 GMT)

whether aussies lose or win, they are great entertainers. they always attack irrespective of the outcome. history says that they have never chased 400 plus, more so in recent times. but the way they tried doing it inspite of wickets falling shows they never hang on for dull draws. with respect to test cricket, i would love to see the aussies play as there cant be a dull moment. even the saffers are not that attacking always. may the most attacking team wins in PE.

Posted by MrGarreth on (February 25, 2014, 7:25 GMT)

@Chris_Howard unfortuantely every country has an Ozcricketwriter. In South Africa we have the same and they tend to think that because they have a bias towards their own country that that will endure them to their fellow countrymen yet all it does alienate them further. Just enjoy the cricket and the skills on show. The Aussies were brilliant in the first test, SA were brilliant in the second. There should be no excuses for that as you alluded to (Pitch, conditions etc.). I for one cannot wait for the deciding test match of this series and have no doubt that it will be another cracker. It's astounding that, despite the margins, both test matches were an absolute treat. Something SA and Aus have a habit of doing when they face each other is putting on a show. As for Amla, not much more I can say for him that hasn't been said. As for as sporting ambassadors go, I could not think of anyone better for young kids to look up to. Class in more ways than one.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 25, 2014, 7:16 GMT)

So is the Newlands pitch likely to be slow like PE or seam friendly like what SA is known for?

If it's the later then the momentum is neutralised as SA got destroyed a week ago on a seam friendly wicket. If it's going to be slow then Australia better win the toss and learn how to bat with more patience.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 7:12 GMT)

@Chris_Howard The first Test was an aberration? Maybe - although a comprehensive one. Another aberration in the third Test and I think SA deserve to have their "best" mantle called into question. It's going to be a cracking game! I'm tipping a dogfight that will go down to the wire (don't know which way) and make this series remembered for many years to come!

Posted by Maroubra_Flyer on (February 25, 2014, 7:04 GMT)

Hashim Amla is a great player and actually who I feared the most. Great win SA, you have all the momentum behind you, but as we saw with SA, defeat can be a great motivator (C'mon Aus). Hope its a great test, but lets make it a longer series next time!!! (By the way Aus pitches aren't doctored - each has their own characteristic - just like PE - (although Clarke remarked on the amount of grass on the pitch) however we were told what it was going to be (slow) and it was!

Posted by ashes_galore on (February 25, 2014, 7:02 GMT)

Haddin, the leading run scorer and ashes hero is only averaging 3! Wow! What a difference a series makes. If he can't bat against RSA bowlers then the rest of the Aussie batsmen don't stand a chance.

Posted by philvic on (February 25, 2014, 6:58 GMT)

That was not a doctored pitch, just a typical PE track. To get a result in 4 days without a quality spinner is astounding and says a lot about both sides

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

Sa will win for sure they hold the key

Posted by bundybear55 on (February 25, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

So Ozcricketwriter, if you don't rate Amla (av. 50+) and Philander (av. 18) "quality" players where does that leave all the Australian players, or for that matter, every other international cricketer..? You're not leaving yourself much room to manoeuvre if those two don't cut it with you...

Posted by INDIAN_CKT_FAN on (February 25, 2014, 6:51 GMT)

He is a class act and a humble human being. IMHO After Sachin Tendulkar he is the only guy whom all the Cricket Fans from every country love. This is not only because of his batting but his overall behavior on and off the field. Respect from India.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (February 25, 2014, 6:38 GMT)

As an Aussie, I'd just like to disassociate myself from the comments of Ozcricketwriter.

By his measure then, Australia don't have any quality bowlers or batters.

And enough with the whinging about doctored pitches!

True champions win anywhere, on any pitch.

Warne and McGrath never cared what they were given, nor does Steyn.

I don't even think Johnson cares - he did damn fine an a flat Adelaide - and he took more wickets at Port Elizabeth than the other two Aussie seamers.

Pitches tailored to local teams is one of the things that makes Test cricket great. It's the true test being able to beat those odds.

I miss the days when each Aussie pitch was unique.

The last thing we want is every pitch in the world the same.

RSA clearly have a better batting side than Aussies. Four of their top 5 average 48 or more, compared to only one Aussie.

And seamer for seamer, RSA is ahead too. Spinners we win that one comfortably.

For RSA, the First Test was an aberration.

Posted by Neutralist01 on (February 25, 2014, 6:34 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter, the delusion runs deep with you -no matter, SA will knock you in CPT too.

Posted by milepost on (February 25, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

Australia got beaten fair and square, no excuses from this Aussie. I think a heavy loss will motivate Australia as much as a great win for SA will be motivational for them. I think the notion of momentum is nonsense. It's nice to see a toughly contested test match series going into a decider, especially after the hugely one sided Ashes.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 6:25 GMT)

HE is so calm. I love Amla. Look at his comments even "so soft".

Posted by TsoroM on (February 25, 2014, 6:22 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter, SA have 3 batsmen averaging over 50 though Du Plessis has only just started, but he has class and temperament (Aussies know this). Amla is an artist with bat in hand. AB is freakishly good. So 2 of 3 proven performers and up and coming guy. Plus a skipper with guts and will that has produced a few double hundreds. Then besides Steyn there is a certain Vern with over 100 wickets at around 19 per scalp. Then a Morne Morkel who absolutely blew Australia away in the 1st innings in PE out of a pitch the Aussie best bowler (Johnson) could not get anything out of. I think you are misguided here, mate.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 25, 2014, 6:21 GMT)

That comment would really annoy me if I was one of those batsmen with no natural talent who worked my ass off to average 45 and was pretty happy with my career, and rightly so. Just sayin'.

Posted by Winner_Stands_Alone on (February 25, 2014, 6:20 GMT)

This is not trash talk! He is just expressing his views rather than comparing weaknesses of his rival team mates. Like gentlemen do. He is a perfect role model for young cricketers out there. Score more mighty Hash!

Posted by Le_Jeu on (February 25, 2014, 6:16 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter By that logic, David Warner is in terrible form, right? Just a couple of 50s in first innings digs in the past 7 test matches. Not that I agree with your assessment of SA having only 1 quality bowler/batsman, but then Aus have 1 quality (hot and cold) bowler, Johnson and no quality batsmen. Unless you count Warner, but then as you say, second innings runs don't matter.

Posted by Seether1 on (February 25, 2014, 6:16 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter: Haha thanks for the laugh mate. What was doctored about the pitch? The fact is that the Aus bowlers were just not skillful enough to extract anything out of it. Aus are an average team with only one good batsman, Clarke, and one good bowler, Harris, who is currently out of form. SA have been the best team in the world for the last 5 years. Be gracious about it.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 6:15 GMT)

This will be E-P-I-C!! Good luck to both sides, except Australia and may the best team win as long as it is South Africa. It will be fantastic to see who wins this game (wish it was on television in New Zealand) and can then claim to be the number one contender to the mantle of the best test side on earth - The Black Caps. Bhahahaha... Yeah, no, that's right... you heard me. It's one of the three of us. I demand a neutral venue showdown! 8-)

Posted by sahbas_s on (February 25, 2014, 6:14 GMT)

@Andy_Gridley2012-That's greatness of SRT. Whenever a quality player comes,we tend to compare with him.There are several players in the past set to beat his records be it Lara,Ponting,Sanga,Kallis,Cook,Dravid,KP but fact is SRT is SRT.Even Dravid didn't carry the burden that SRT carried, the hopes of the nation.SRT gave nightmare to bowler at very early age,but Dravid learnt from Azhar,Sachin,SG and matured himself during the course.SRT was always expected to score tons, if he scores 60s,70s we call him as out of form.That's the standard he set himself.People call him statchin but records don't lie.No cricketer has ever had a longevity like him considering the surgeries or injuries he had in his career and carrying the burden

Posted by PureProteas49 on (February 25, 2014, 6:12 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter, So as usual you guys are always looking for excuses when your team gets soundly beaten, what evidence do you have that the P.E pitch was doctored, It was a typical low flat sub continent deck, If your team cant play on those then you have no place in international cricket, Either adapt or die trying, We have toured the world (including beating you twice in your backyard) and have raised our game when the chips were down, Have a look at your teams weaknesses instead of looking for chinks in our chain and quit with the excuses, its pathetic, BTW as far as newlands goes, remember 46/10 ;)

Posted by Kestogo on (February 25, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

You go boy! I wonder if some-one can do me a favour and go break Ozcricketwriter's fingers and pull out his tongue! Sjoe, is it human?

# once said that he is not even the best player in our team and he meant it! Now that was a gem..

Posted by Sal76 on (February 25, 2014, 6:05 GMT)

@xtrafalfarx - Amla never trash talks. Maybe Smith sometimes does, but that's to dish out to the Aussies what they. Mate, read what Amla said, "It's probably a better situation going into the final test having won the second." I don't think that is trash talking. He's humbly stating his opinion by even using the word, "probably" meaning others may not have the same opinion.

Some others have also pointed out his humility whereby he called himself an "average" player. No one except Amla alone would consider himself an average player. In this day and age of cricketers being brash and arrogant, Amla is a wonderful role model for cricketers around the world. Hats off Hashim, you've earned my respect, and that of many cricket lovers around the world.

Posted by TheCricketeer on (February 25, 2014, 5:57 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter - all this talk of a doctored pitch. I have a question - how much cricket have you watched at PE. Because that pitch was as typical a PE pitch as you get. In fact on days 2-4 it was probably livelier then most. Doctored - most certainly not.

As for only one world class bowler - well if any of the seamers in this test match were shown up as the mediocre journeyman they are its Harris and Siddle. How Siddle has maintained a test career as long as he has is beyond me. Harris has his moments but he showed if anyone is reliant on a lively pitch its him because he looked down and out for the entire second innings. Philander and Morkel on the other hand seemd pretty effective in helping to pick up about 28 Australian wickets.

All I can say is MJ better turn up at Nwwlands. And if SA get there fielding mojo back which may well happen with a now confident side then even that might not be enough.

But good luck - you going to need it.

Posted by Andre117 on (February 25, 2014, 5:55 GMT)

Fun fact about Newlands which might encourage the Aussies. Since readmission we have only lost 3 tests at Newlands, all against Australia. Our record there is 18-5-3 out of 26 matches. Looking good for a South Africa series win :).

Posted by SahirUmer on (February 25, 2014, 5:52 GMT)

"Sometimes you go through a few innings when you don't score runs. It's part of the game. It's happened to players in the past, it's happened to everybody. There's no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself. I'm just glad I managed to get some runs and put the team in a really good position to win it." hats off sir for being so humble

Posted by Le_Jeu on (February 25, 2014, 5:40 GMT)

"....to an average player like myself..." Come, come Mr. Amla, this simply won't do.

Posted by ather18 on (February 25, 2014, 5:40 GMT)

Whoaa.. such humility. He says " .. an average player like myself.." Now that is a sign of greatness.

Posted by YogifromNY on (February 25, 2014, 5:39 GMT)

If Hashim Amla is "an average player", then I am the President of the USA! Refreshing to hear the humble tone of this talented guy, which is so rare in sports or any other field these days. Excellent player for SA. Respect from an Indian fan, sir. May you scale even newer heights in the coming years.

Posted by Akhter786 on (February 25, 2014, 5:36 GMT)

"..and no doubt it can happen to any average player like myself"

Can there be any more humble airs about oneself in the international cricket? Is there anyone so down to earth cricketer who has just broken Viv Richards odi record of fastest to 4000 runs, just scored a triple ton, just scored a masterful strokeful 196 in second innings at perth, just scored an elegant 127* against Johnson & co.....

It is simple, there isn't.

Posted by Yousuf.hatim on (February 25, 2014, 5:25 GMT)

Great player and a true Muslim !!! Well done Amla !! :)

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

Though Clarke and Kohli scores lot of runs in last 3 years or so, I love to see Amla and AB batting, not only for their Skill or Talent, but their humble and loveable behaviour on and off the field.

Posted by Tama_Pokai66 on (February 25, 2014, 5:18 GMT)

No doubt he is a match winner. plays well when the chips are down, unlike Tendulker. If I had to pick an Indian player in my side, I go with Dravid. Both more reliable than Tendulker for sure. But it's a shame that Dravid doesn't get appreciated like Tendulker. If he was a Kiwi, he would been respected just like Martin.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 5:14 GMT)

this guy is completely down to earth. brilliant cricketer, top class batsmen and above of them all a very humble person. I wish Amla every success and I hope other so called cricketer who acts like a superstar, should learn something from him.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 5:04 GMT)

"It's happened to players in the past, it's happened to everybody. There's no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself. " Dude, You are not an average player but you are an exceptional batsman of modern era, or perhaps best batsman. Seeing you on the field always reminds me of Rahul Dravid, wall like on the field and the most humble and modest off the field. You are certainly best batsman of this era in which batsman starts to brag about himself after hitting couple of knocks.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 25, 2014, 4:56 GMT)

Amla is still out of form. A second innings century while setting up a declaration with no pressure applied doesn't make him in form. Better than nothing, of course, but far from being in form. South Africa still only have 1 quality bowler (Steyn) and 1 quality batsman (A B de Villiers). Nothing has changed. I just hope for a fair, un-doctored pitch so we can see which team is genuinely the better team.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 4:51 GMT)

Amla is great no doubted about his cricket talent

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 4:34 GMT)

"there's no doubt thay can happen to an average player like myself" such a gem of cricket hash is.what humility!there are a lot of things other than cricket can be learnt from this man.salutation!!

Posted by real26_03 on (February 25, 2014, 4:34 GMT)

'Sometimes you go through a few innings when you don't score runs. It's part of the game. It's happened to players in the past, it's happened to everybody. There's no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself.' - Wow! What a humble player he is! Sir, You are an amazing player and even more so as a person.

Posted by wapuser on (February 25, 2014, 4:24 GMT)

Being an indian, really i love cricket and indian team but amla is just out standing. I wish him all the best for decider. I am his 22 and 23.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 25, 2014, 4:23 GMT)

I feel better now, because that is the same type of talking that SA did before the first Test, they just don't talk like a confident no. 1 team.

Posted by ShawnWoodsworth on (February 25, 2014, 4:10 GMT)

There's no doubt it can happen to an average player like myself. Talk about humility ay. No mate, you are not average, you are a legend. Love the way you carry yourself. Sets good examples for the young kids and shows them, they don't have to get attention by cursing etc. Will be watching the last test for sure ay. Hooray for test cricket

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 25, 2014, 4:06 GMT)

I think the South African's talk just as much as the Aussies do to be honest..

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 4:05 GMT)

Amla is a very fine and superb player...!!! no doubt about that...

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 4:05 GMT)

True the momentum lies with SA but Australia has the strength to come back strong. Will be interesting to watch to say the least.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 25, 2014, 3:56 GMT)

What kind of pitch can we expect @ cape town? Is it usually a seamers wicket with a bit of assistance in side ways movement? I'm expecting it to not be as slow as PE.

I'm glad that SA think that they have the momentum, advantage and form as that is when Australia can win - like @ the Gabba against England in 2013 and @ New Wanders against SA in 2011.

I'm looking forward to seeing Amla, G. Smith and Duminey's form on a faster wicket with a bit of movement.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 3:48 GMT)

Amla is my favorite classical and traditional cricket player in this modern era of cricket. Amla is reminding me Azharudeen , Mark Waugh and Rameez Raja kind of style batting. wish you more successes and achievements.

Posted by Proteas-13thman on (February 25, 2014, 3:48 GMT)

The selectors are now doing a great job~! selecting Abott(about time) and supporting great players like amla , JOP duminy and Smith(yet to score) are good signs of stability AND progress. I just wish management could get more games especially against the "big three" haha.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 3:40 GMT)

If Amla says something, he really means it, the Aussies are in deep trouble in Newlands.

Posted by tamperbay on (February 25, 2014, 3:10 GMT)

actually 2 things going for the home team - momentum and ability (when they get desperate) to manipulate the ball to make it reverse swing

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