South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 1st day January 2, 2011

South Africa in a 'good space' - Amla

29

The Newlands pitch is "more challenging for the batsmen than it is for the fielding team," Hashim Amla said at the end of the opening day of the deciding Cape Town Test. Amla was pleased that, despite the challenging conditions, South Africa finished at stumps "in a good space, considering we were put in to bat."

With moisture in the air and heavy cloud above, it was considered a good toss to lose, since there was uncertainty over whether the winning captain should exploit conditions by bowling or bat in the knowledge that the weather was expected to clear. "I may have bowled," Amla said. "The pitch has a lot in it for the bowlers. If you hit a decent length, it has a lot of swing and a lot of nip."

Amla felt the South African batsmen did a good job negotiating their way through the tricky conditions. "The day went quite well for us especially since the track has some juice in it and given the overhead conditions." Amla also praised the batsmen for not allowing the breaks in play to cause jitters in the line-up, as 112 minutes were lost to rain and bad light. "It is a mental shift to switch on and switch off. Fortunately, it went quite well for us after the break."

After just nine overs, the players marched off the field for light drizzle and bad light. An hour and 15 minutes of play was lost in that delay. At that stage, Amla had scored just one run off 10 balls and South Africa were in a tricky position at 23 for one. The early lunch break allowed for some reflection and in Amla's case provided an injection of intent for the session that followed. He came out and scored 58 off 70 balls in the post-lunch session, including nine fours and a six. "I had a couple of chocolates, I think it was a sugar rush," Amla joked.

Of course, for the measured man from Durban, it was nothing of the sort and although he had not planned it, he was able to take advantage of some of the bowling he was presented with. "I think I just had a lot of bad balls. There were a few full balls that I got to capitalise on and momentum just went with me for that bit." Three fours and the solitary six came off the bowling of Sreesanth, whom Amla eventually gave his wicket. While there was nothing of the fiery exchange witnessed between Sreesanth and Graeme Smith, some words in anger were muttered from the Indian bowler. Amla said that had nothing to do with his dismissal. "There weren't any words exchanged, I didn't say anything back. I tried to keep it down and I got a top edge."

Sunny skies saw South Africa to the close of play, them having lost just four wickets, and a bright forecast is predicted for tomorrow. Amla didn't think that would necessarily translate into better batting conditions. "I don't know if it will be very good for batting since there is a fair covering of grass on the pitch. The ball is 70 overs old and it's still nipping."

He did think a sustained presence of sunlight may "dry the wicket out" but predicted a "crucial first session" for the hosts. For that reason, Amla could not identify a total that South Africa would be comfortable posting. "Let's see what the conditions are like. If it's cloudy it will be a lot tougher, if it's a sunny day, maybe the wicket might flatten out."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Srini_india on January 3, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    Either the comments are For India or Anti India..For tendulkar or Anti Tendulkar...can we have some unbiased view here...

  • suresh_sksj on January 3, 2011, 8:25 GMT

    Viewers in India, it's a 4 ball over match due to pathetic commercials, every 1st ball of the new over is missed and the last ball of the over is also cut out….commercials are essential but not that they become an eye sore…..the zoom in and zoom out of the game in-between two balls is also too tiring on the eyes….ICC can u do something…pls….

  • on January 3, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    For all the Indian Fans: Indians have done many things right in winning 7 of last 8 test series.. They dont need to prove anything.. The current Great Indian Team now does not goes down without a fight... Indians surely show fight when their backs are against the wall... They win matches otherwise one foreign soil New Zealand and Sri Lanka recently for illustration.... Indians show perfect aggression and character when needed.. No unnecessary sledging.. Look at Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS .. they are all Pure Genuine sports personality... Go Team India

  • RB007 on January 3, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    Fascinating day's play. And another one coming up today hopefully. Test Match cricket at its best both for the intensity of the sides and the bowler friendly conditions. Fantastic work by Kallis, Amla, Srresanth and Ishant. And yes, Dhoni missed a trick by denying boundaries when the need was for wickets. A fairer reflection of the play would have been SA 5/230 but lets not quibble. If SA gets 400, it sets up the game beautifully as India would have great conditions to bat on. So Dhoni winning the toss may yet help India's batting cause. Cant wait to see how this one unfolds. What a pity the series is almost over. Needed a five match series.

  • Suresh123456 on January 3, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    @ cris89 .. Good Morning mate... I think u had a good sleep and sweet dreams.. India losing by an inning ???? R U suffering from amnesia ?? did u forgot what happened on 29th Dec 2010 on so called the fastest pitch in SA ?? @ superislam2011 ... Amla light year ahead than Sachin and Dravid .. well i dont want to comment.. that shows ur knowledge and understanding about cricket ... good luck

  • on January 3, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    @paramjit : ind was a bit lucky in Durban n so is SA here in capetown.so y so much fuss by SA fans n Team India critics ven India gets lucky.however the result is yet 2 come.if sun comes out,it 'll be a draw if india doesn't gift wickets as seen in the previous 2 matches...

  • SFGoldenGate on January 3, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    @Nampally, LBW decisions are part of the game. SA also suffered couple of bad decision in Durban. We Saffers do not use that as an excuse, but anything can happen on cricket field. If UDRS was used SA would have those decision in favor and "Could" win the match. But thats all "if", " could" and we do not believe in "if" , "Could". In Durban Ind played better and deserving winner. But few Indian fans shows lot of excuse like pitch, condition, toss etc. Champion team should have every kind of arsenal to cope with any situation. AUS won 16 tests in a row and I do not think they got all the pitch, toss and condition in their favor. Again, AUS also got bundled out for 98 and I did not see any condition excuse. In the current match SA may have a slight edge but can easily lose the upper hand in the 2nd morning. GO SA.

  • Sachin7 on January 3, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    I see many funny comments from many SA fans :). I think you guys got rattled more than we thought to make some stupid, precautionary statements saying India would have been bowled out less than 200 if they had batted etc Come on guys the wicket had nothing, the swing which was moderate happened due to the conditions and the wicket as usual capetown wicket appears to be full of runs and what Kallis got is ofcourse good batting but nothing great and all. So you guys trying to hide and supress your desperation and fear of the knowledge that the pitch has lot of runs and SA is in for a long day for 2 days. SA should minimum get 400 to think of winning and only then the game would be in balance else the cup is going to India :)

  • AvidCricFan on January 3, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    Indian bowling was flat in what was probably a bowling friendly conditions. Both Zaheer and Sreesanth were bowling at Paul Collingwood's pace in upper 70's. Ishant was also share down than his normal bowling when it came to speed. At this level they need to go flat out to create once in a life time opportunity for India. Indian batting may struggle to post high score if weather and pitch remains same.

  • Nadeem1976 on January 3, 2011, 2:58 GMT

    Why we have tendency to compare every batsman with Sachin. Let sachin relax for some time dear fans. Some time you guys criticize him and some time your say he is best. I wonder why every body is becoming an analyst of cricket. Let the history judge who is better.

    As far as Kallis is concerned he master class batsman and technically more sound than any batsman i have ever seen including sachin , dravid, gawaskar and what ever. Regarding greatness, its up to history that who is going to better. Still Viv Richards is kind of batting even after 20 years becuase of his attitude. Every player is different , we will remmeber every body according to their part they play in cricket in future. Lets dont analyze any curent player. Please.

  • Srini_india on January 3, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    Either the comments are For India or Anti India..For tendulkar or Anti Tendulkar...can we have some unbiased view here...

  • suresh_sksj on January 3, 2011, 8:25 GMT

    Viewers in India, it's a 4 ball over match due to pathetic commercials, every 1st ball of the new over is missed and the last ball of the over is also cut out….commercials are essential but not that they become an eye sore…..the zoom in and zoom out of the game in-between two balls is also too tiring on the eyes….ICC can u do something…pls….

  • on January 3, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    For all the Indian Fans: Indians have done many things right in winning 7 of last 8 test series.. They dont need to prove anything.. The current Great Indian Team now does not goes down without a fight... Indians surely show fight when their backs are against the wall... They win matches otherwise one foreign soil New Zealand and Sri Lanka recently for illustration.... Indians show perfect aggression and character when needed.. No unnecessary sledging.. Look at Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS .. they are all Pure Genuine sports personality... Go Team India

  • RB007 on January 3, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    Fascinating day's play. And another one coming up today hopefully. Test Match cricket at its best both for the intensity of the sides and the bowler friendly conditions. Fantastic work by Kallis, Amla, Srresanth and Ishant. And yes, Dhoni missed a trick by denying boundaries when the need was for wickets. A fairer reflection of the play would have been SA 5/230 but lets not quibble. If SA gets 400, it sets up the game beautifully as India would have great conditions to bat on. So Dhoni winning the toss may yet help India's batting cause. Cant wait to see how this one unfolds. What a pity the series is almost over. Needed a five match series.

  • Suresh123456 on January 3, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    @ cris89 .. Good Morning mate... I think u had a good sleep and sweet dreams.. India losing by an inning ???? R U suffering from amnesia ?? did u forgot what happened on 29th Dec 2010 on so called the fastest pitch in SA ?? @ superislam2011 ... Amla light year ahead than Sachin and Dravid .. well i dont want to comment.. that shows ur knowledge and understanding about cricket ... good luck

  • on January 3, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    @paramjit : ind was a bit lucky in Durban n so is SA here in capetown.so y so much fuss by SA fans n Team India critics ven India gets lucky.however the result is yet 2 come.if sun comes out,it 'll be a draw if india doesn't gift wickets as seen in the previous 2 matches...

  • SFGoldenGate on January 3, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    @Nampally, LBW decisions are part of the game. SA also suffered couple of bad decision in Durban. We Saffers do not use that as an excuse, but anything can happen on cricket field. If UDRS was used SA would have those decision in favor and "Could" win the match. But thats all "if", " could" and we do not believe in "if" , "Could". In Durban Ind played better and deserving winner. But few Indian fans shows lot of excuse like pitch, condition, toss etc. Champion team should have every kind of arsenal to cope with any situation. AUS won 16 tests in a row and I do not think they got all the pitch, toss and condition in their favor. Again, AUS also got bundled out for 98 and I did not see any condition excuse. In the current match SA may have a slight edge but can easily lose the upper hand in the 2nd morning. GO SA.

  • Sachin7 on January 3, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    I see many funny comments from many SA fans :). I think you guys got rattled more than we thought to make some stupid, precautionary statements saying India would have been bowled out less than 200 if they had batted etc Come on guys the wicket had nothing, the swing which was moderate happened due to the conditions and the wicket as usual capetown wicket appears to be full of runs and what Kallis got is ofcourse good batting but nothing great and all. So you guys trying to hide and supress your desperation and fear of the knowledge that the pitch has lot of runs and SA is in for a long day for 2 days. SA should minimum get 400 to think of winning and only then the game would be in balance else the cup is going to India :)

  • AvidCricFan on January 3, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    Indian bowling was flat in what was probably a bowling friendly conditions. Both Zaheer and Sreesanth were bowling at Paul Collingwood's pace in upper 70's. Ishant was also share down than his normal bowling when it came to speed. At this level they need to go flat out to create once in a life time opportunity for India. Indian batting may struggle to post high score if weather and pitch remains same.

  • Nadeem1976 on January 3, 2011, 2:58 GMT

    Why we have tendency to compare every batsman with Sachin. Let sachin relax for some time dear fans. Some time you guys criticize him and some time your say he is best. I wonder why every body is becoming an analyst of cricket. Let the history judge who is better.

    As far as Kallis is concerned he master class batsman and technically more sound than any batsman i have ever seen including sachin , dravid, gawaskar and what ever. Regarding greatness, its up to history that who is going to better. Still Viv Richards is kind of batting even after 20 years becuase of his attitude. Every player is different , we will remmeber every body according to their part they play in cricket in future. Lets dont analyze any curent player. Please.

  • on January 3, 2011, 2:53 GMT

    The lack of respect for Amla and Kallis is rather alarming.

    Newsflash, they are the same quality of batsman as Ponting, Tendulkar, Lara. Amla averaged 78 in Tests, in 2010. He has been fantastic in ODIs, when he was considered 'Not ODI material' previously.

    Kallis got his first double ton, and let me remind you it wasn't against Bangladesh, New Zealand, the Windies, etc. Only the most fervent India fan thought their performances in the Durban test is the norm, for these two world class batsmen. Both will go down as some of South Africa's all-time greatest, and yet some will suggest they aren't "elegant to watch"! I, for one, could watch these two at the crease all day long.

  • Nampally on January 3, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    @Lankan_Neutral:Yes I did use the words "India was Unlucky" because Kallis was out LBW when he was around 30 but the Umpire Tuffel turned down the appeal.An Umpire should be able to decise even without Hawk eye whether a ball on the middle and off would have hit the stumps. If UDRS was in effect, Kallis would have been given out by the third Umpire. Yes India will pay the penalty. I am a supporter of UDRS and I don't question your comment. But in this case if Kallis was given out the SA might have been dismissed for under 200. That is why I called it the match turner because Kallis is still at the crease and batting very well with 81. I don't understand why India do not accept the UDRS which is far superior to the standard of present day umpiring.Once there was an umpire Chester who was so infallible that even Hawk eye could not be any better. But these days we have rather questionable umpiring which can turn a good match to a regreetable one. Thanks for your comment.

  • cooljack_143 on January 3, 2011, 2:22 GMT

    SA are going to wrap up below 320 and Sehwag is going to thrash Steyn and co tomorrow.So beware of the storm.India had to take wickets and , at the same time contain the score so Bhajji was used.MS is currently among the best captains not for nothing.GL team India.Let the best team win.

  • on January 3, 2011, 1:51 GMT

    @cris89:You'll never want to accept that India can defeat any team on any conditions...SA will lose this match and India will seal the No1 spot once and for all........:)

  • gaithersburgman on January 3, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    Where are the SA supporters now complaining about poor umpiring (Kallis LBW detected by Hawk-Eye) and the absence of UDRS !!

  • INDIA_THE_BEST_END_OF_DISCUSSION on January 3, 2011, 0:13 GMT

    @superislam, I reckon unadkat the debutant test boweler in the series looks aesthetically better at batting than, say, Shaid Afridi. Probably more skilled too.

    @RT25, I reckon SA will need at least 6000 runs to challenge 1 indian batsman's innings.

    @Cris89, India will win come rain or shine. Amla and Kallis in stone ages compared to dravid and SRT on current form..they just pretending to play bad its all a masterplan.

  • on January 2, 2011, 23:07 GMT

    Some of the comments are hilarious? India needs luck with the umpiring decisions? India doesn't as India is OK with the status quo of not having the UDRS. Do you forget the second innings? Where Laxman and Zaheer weren't given out when they were plumb lbws? And then in the last innings a couple of South African batsmen were given out when they were not out? Anyhow I didn't watch this Sreesanth delivery to Kallis, but it seems his appeal was half hearted and as per Cricinfo it was hitting the top of the leg (or was it middle?) stump, which would have made it a questionable decision. And if you have any further issues may be try writing letters to the BCCI for getting UDRS for everyone of India's games.

  • on January 2, 2011, 22:55 GMT

    @anand: i agree , although i wouldn't say that ab de villiers looks that stylish ( he has problems against spin) . I think , currently, Ian bell looks a bit like laxman with his wrist work . of course, i dont think the temperament is anywhere as good

  • doc47 on January 2, 2011, 22:53 GMT

    kallis is a very solid & consistent test batsmen and will go down in the record books, probably with the second most test runs - but he has never been able to dominate a good bowling attack like tendulkar, ponting, lara. he is a percentage player with great technique & intense concentration. cannot be compared to tendulkar & co.

  • on January 2, 2011, 22:50 GMT

    @pawan: so what are you doing here as an analyst, mate? SA lost on a bowlers pitch, yes, but they have batted much better here. Also the umpires here are simon taufel and ian gould and not steve davies who was put under pressure by dhoni to "umpire better" after the india nz series. so i cant see any favourable decisions helping india either. so they will lose or at best draw.

    @nampally: india have got a helluva lot of umpiring decisions in their favour in the 1st 2 matches. how many more do you want? Surely, a fairer way of judging the two teams is if both teams get fair decisions? ANd that kallis lbw, it wouldnt have been overturned even if udrs was used. The ball was just clipping, so those are always 50-50 decisions

  • on January 2, 2011, 22:11 GMT

    @superislam2011: u gotto be kidding. I agree that Amla is in the form of his life. But to watch for stylish shotmaking, he is nowhere near the style of SRT, VVS or Dravid. They are really aesthetic to the eye. I always felt Amla and Kallis shot making looks gaudy at times (not all shots mind you, just overall) and I bet many people think the same. If I have to pay to watch stylish Saffers batting, it has to be AB, Peter Kirsten or Cullinan. Except for back foot punch cover drive of Amla, One legged pull shot of kallis, most of their other shots dont look aesthetic compared to other good batsmen. Anybody wants to add to this??!!?

  • cricket_for_all on January 2, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    Hello Mr.Nampally: Please don't say Unlucky or whatever word as Indian fan. There is UDRS but India oppose it to use. UDRS is not perfect (You can't get ideal system in the world) but much much better than non-UDRS matches. The reality is all the other teams has the knowledge to use the UDRS while India doesn't.

  • insightfulcricketer on January 2, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    Dhoni's defensiveness was criminal today. When Sree was bowling out swingers at will he should have left covers open and brought in 3 rd slip. Instead he had a deep point and two slips. There is an art of winning and unless things happen so quickly as in Durban he is very defensive. What was the point of Bhajji bowling so many overs on the trot without looking threatening? It has been a fascinating game but I thought Dhon missed a trick of not taking the game to the opposition.Maybe we can blame it on playing on docile tracks of home where 232/4 is actually a good score for fielding team.

  • on January 2, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    everyone is an analyst and a half these days...@cris89...how the hell do you know thats what will transpire, mate?

    SA got beat in Durban, didnt they...that too on a bowler's pitch...didnt they?

  • superislam2011 on January 2, 2011, 20:39 GMT

    amla is a much better player to watch then tendulkar

  • cris89 on January 2, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    If the sun does not come out, India should brace themselves for an innings defeat..The Ind bowlers bowled decently enough but were thwarted by a superb exhibition of batting by Amla and Kallis, who seem to be light years ahead of Dravid and SRT on current form..Ind fans better hope for some sun otherwise its going to be a familiar thrashing..If the cloudy conditions persist, I expect Ind to be shot out for 100 and 200..

  • RT25 on January 2, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    Excellent batting by Hashim Amla. He changed the momentum of the game and South Africa are in a solid position due to him and, of course, Kallis. This a winning start to the final test match. Any score over 350 will take the match beyond the Indians.

  • on January 2, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    Intriguing day's play.. It was a privilege to watch today's play befitting the top two teams in the world. SA slightly ahead right now, but as Amla said, we cant just say right now :-)

  • Nampally on January 2, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    India was unlucky in not getting Kallis LBW to Sreesanth as the Hawk eye showed he was out. This would perhaps be the match turner. India need to get Kallis & Prince out in the first hour to stand any chance of restricting SA to a reasonable total which India can respond to effectively. As it stands SA is heading for at least 350. It must be recognized that India bat in the fourth innings. That means they need to get a good total in their first innings. Right now the match is tilted slightly in favour of the host team. Can India get baxk? Zaheer needs to produce his spell of tricky swing to get them back in the game.India also need a bit of luck with the umpiring decisions.Dhoni did well by winning the toss and fielding. Otherwise Steyn & Morket may have been handful in the dull light and cloudy conditions with the bounce and the nip off the wicket. India must fight back to get in the game by dismissing SA in the morning session. It is still a pace bowler's wicket.

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  • Nampally on January 2, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    India was unlucky in not getting Kallis LBW to Sreesanth as the Hawk eye showed he was out. This would perhaps be the match turner. India need to get Kallis & Prince out in the first hour to stand any chance of restricting SA to a reasonable total which India can respond to effectively. As it stands SA is heading for at least 350. It must be recognized that India bat in the fourth innings. That means they need to get a good total in their first innings. Right now the match is tilted slightly in favour of the host team. Can India get baxk? Zaheer needs to produce his spell of tricky swing to get them back in the game.India also need a bit of luck with the umpiring decisions.Dhoni did well by winning the toss and fielding. Otherwise Steyn & Morket may have been handful in the dull light and cloudy conditions with the bounce and the nip off the wicket. India must fight back to get in the game by dismissing SA in the morning session. It is still a pace bowler's wicket.

  • on January 2, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    Intriguing day's play.. It was a privilege to watch today's play befitting the top two teams in the world. SA slightly ahead right now, but as Amla said, we cant just say right now :-)

  • RT25 on January 2, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    Excellent batting by Hashim Amla. He changed the momentum of the game and South Africa are in a solid position due to him and, of course, Kallis. This a winning start to the final test match. Any score over 350 will take the match beyond the Indians.

  • cris89 on January 2, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    If the sun does not come out, India should brace themselves for an innings defeat..The Ind bowlers bowled decently enough but were thwarted by a superb exhibition of batting by Amla and Kallis, who seem to be light years ahead of Dravid and SRT on current form..Ind fans better hope for some sun otherwise its going to be a familiar thrashing..If the cloudy conditions persist, I expect Ind to be shot out for 100 and 200..

  • superislam2011 on January 2, 2011, 20:39 GMT

    amla is a much better player to watch then tendulkar

  • on January 2, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    everyone is an analyst and a half these days...@cris89...how the hell do you know thats what will transpire, mate?

    SA got beat in Durban, didnt they...that too on a bowler's pitch...didnt they?

  • insightfulcricketer on January 2, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    Dhoni's defensiveness was criminal today. When Sree was bowling out swingers at will he should have left covers open and brought in 3 rd slip. Instead he had a deep point and two slips. There is an art of winning and unless things happen so quickly as in Durban he is very defensive. What was the point of Bhajji bowling so many overs on the trot without looking threatening? It has been a fascinating game but I thought Dhon missed a trick of not taking the game to the opposition.Maybe we can blame it on playing on docile tracks of home where 232/4 is actually a good score for fielding team.

  • cricket_for_all on January 2, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    Hello Mr.Nampally: Please don't say Unlucky or whatever word as Indian fan. There is UDRS but India oppose it to use. UDRS is not perfect (You can't get ideal system in the world) but much much better than non-UDRS matches. The reality is all the other teams has the knowledge to use the UDRS while India doesn't.

  • on January 2, 2011, 22:11 GMT

    @superislam2011: u gotto be kidding. I agree that Amla is in the form of his life. But to watch for stylish shotmaking, he is nowhere near the style of SRT, VVS or Dravid. They are really aesthetic to the eye. I always felt Amla and Kallis shot making looks gaudy at times (not all shots mind you, just overall) and I bet many people think the same. If I have to pay to watch stylish Saffers batting, it has to be AB, Peter Kirsten or Cullinan. Except for back foot punch cover drive of Amla, One legged pull shot of kallis, most of their other shots dont look aesthetic compared to other good batsmen. Anybody wants to add to this??!!?

  • on January 2, 2011, 22:50 GMT

    @pawan: so what are you doing here as an analyst, mate? SA lost on a bowlers pitch, yes, but they have batted much better here. Also the umpires here are simon taufel and ian gould and not steve davies who was put under pressure by dhoni to "umpire better" after the india nz series. so i cant see any favourable decisions helping india either. so they will lose or at best draw.

    @nampally: india have got a helluva lot of umpiring decisions in their favour in the 1st 2 matches. how many more do you want? Surely, a fairer way of judging the two teams is if both teams get fair decisions? ANd that kallis lbw, it wouldnt have been overturned even if udrs was used. The ball was just clipping, so those are always 50-50 decisions