Pakistan in South Africa 2012-13 February 19, 2013

'Pakistan took us to our limits' - Amla

ESPNcricinfo staff

Hashim Amla has paid tribute to Pakistan's spirited performance in the second Test at Newlands, saying the team had pushed South Africa "to our limits in certain respects".

"We were under pressure in our first innings, and then had to chase180 in the second," he said. "[It] was never going to be an easy total."

Pakistan scored 338 in the first innings, with centuries from Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq. South Africa could have dismissed them for less than 300, when they were 268 for 8, but a 74-run stand for the ninth wicket between Tanvir Ahmed and Saeed Ajmal took Pakistan to a competitive total.

After South Africa posted 326 in their first innings, Pakistan had a chance at victory, provided they could put together another substantial total. In the end they were dismissed for 169, leaving South Africa 182 to chase.

Amla believed Robin Peterson's 84 in the first innings helped close the gap on Pakistan, and ultimately proved the difference. "We all know the kind of work Robbie puts in behind the scenes, so it was wonderful to watch him oozing with confidence while he was batting," he said. "He also made a significant contribution with the ball and has become a recognised player in his own right."

Saeed Ajmal, who picked up 4 for 51 to go with his 6 for 96 in the first innings, along with Mohammad Irfan providing pace and bounce, ensured the chase wasn't easy and South Africa reached their target with four wickets in hand.

Amla was unperturbed about the team's modest batting performance. "It was not an easy wicket to bat on in the first innings - for both teams - and I wouldn't read too much into it."

South Africa dismissed Pakistan cheaply in the second innings despite Morne Morkel bowling only 3.1 overs before injuring his hamstring. Morkel will not play the third Test in Centurion, with Rory Kleinveldt slotted to take his place.

"Rory has become an integral part of the team, filling in whenever someone has been injured," Amla said. "Against New Zealand [in January 2013], he bowled really well and he's a quality performer. It's a lovely opportunity for Rory to cement his position as one of the leading bowlers in the country."

Despite securing the series with a 2-0 lead, Amla emphasised every game was important as it maintained a winning culture within the team. "A lot of us in the top order have got in, but haven't made massive contributions, so we're hungry to do that. The bowlers have enjoyed their wickets, and will want to keep on in that vein, so there is a lot to play for. This country is a very proud nation so we have a duty to uphold in that regard."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nasser on February 20, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    South Africa was never really pushed - as far as winning was concerned. At no stage was SA win in any REAL doubt as we all know it is just a matter of time when Pakistan will implode (We Pak supporters did hope though that we could win but hope is not equal to expectations). Poor batting, poor balling, and appalling fielding (SA low 1st innings score in first test was largely due to rare and brilliant fielding by Pakistan) does not put opposition under REAL and PROLONGED pressure. Individual performances do not win games on a REGULAR basis. Just refer to SA scorecards for both batting and bowling over the last 11 test series they have played. And do I need to comment on their fielding? They have 4 world class batsmen with high aggregates and average around 50. Their 3 main bowlers are at the top too in addition to Kallis. Hashim Amla is just being nice; decent guy that he is.

  • Wajahat on February 20, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    Seems likes most of you haven't seen Pakistan play in recent times. Remember Pakistan wins with lowest targets against England? It was magic of Ajmal and Rehman that made Pakistan win.

    This deck offered little assistance to spinners and Ajmal was almost unplayable. Even Petersen was having fun with the roughness of the pitch. So, imagine what would have happened with Ajmal coupled with another class act like Rehman? It would have created a major difference.

    SA bowlers are good with the new ball but are pretty clueless when the ball is old. This pitch, with the assistance it offered to spinners, was Pakistan's best chance to level the series!

  • Tim on February 20, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    Pushed us to our limits...'in certain respects'. The Proteas had a few gears left. The regularity with which Pakistan choked at key moments during the Newlands match meant that the Proteas were never pushed 100% and into the red.

    Be nice if the 49ers can do that at Centurion. That is as likely as another catastrophic batting collapse. Lets see which Pakistan team rocks up!

  • amardeep on February 20, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    Very calm cricketer...very mature comments...same sense of calmness weather he bats or he talks

  • srikanth on February 20, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    @ Wajahatt : In Cricket there is no 'If' and 'Then'. We can say that If Steyn had bowled like he did in first test the match would have been completed in 3 days. But things doesn't happen until they are done. All we can say is Pak gave good fight against SA than any other team in recent past (except Aus).

  • Aamir on February 20, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Under current circumstances Pak should go with the following bowling options: Irfan, Junaid, Saeed Ajmal, & Abdul Rehman.

    Never seen Umar Gul performing in a test for past 6 years already, we are a nation used to see bowlers like Imran, Sarfaraz, Wasim, Waqar, & Shoaib who were regular and consistent performers. Umar Gul with all due respect simply do not fall in same catagory, so lets drop him for a balanced bowling attack in final test. Giving a chance to Ehsan Adil as support bowler would be a better bet rather than going with Umar Gul again n again.

    In Batting we have not much options left, only possibility is to change one of the openers but I dont thing that we should change them after just 2 tests only, give them another test to make ammends.

  • Dummy4 on February 20, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    well testing to limits are not enough to beat any team. SA is mentally strong team and 2 things make a strong team, A- never take pressure and b) all members take responsibility. SA showed both, they were down on 2nd day but robin played match wining ininngs out of no where ( i think many SA fans would not have though so as well ) . And almost all have participated in some way.

    whereas pak had 2 100s a 10 for but rest nothing there. you need team effort to beat big teams not individual performances.

  • Dummy4 on February 20, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    SA is very hard to beat because each player contribute in one or the other matches. In the second test where top order failed peterson contributed with the bat to cut off the lead,whereas in pakistan only 2 or 3 players contribute in a match which resulted in their loss in newlands.

  • Thabang on February 20, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    Ajmal had assistance in Newlands (Pitch Dry),Smith(Batting last),SA batsman(trying to score 4 per over on a day four dry pitch),he will not have that in Centurion.Philander and Co.will be a handful for the Pakistani batsman.They will leave this Test Series knowing that in the UAE they will get their revenge.

  • Dummy4 on February 20, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    @Aravind.Koushik: I will be delighted to see this sort of your love to Biff when India tours SA this year... India never had any Wasim nor they r going to get any.. LOLZ

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