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

South Africa in a 'good space' - Amla


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 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….

  • Dummy4 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

  • Rajat 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.

  • Suresh 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

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    @paramjit : ind was a bit lucky in Durban n so is SA here in 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...

  • Mehedi 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.

  • Srinivasan 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 :)

  • Anit 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.

  • Nadeem 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.

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