South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, East London January 14, 2012

Does Amla's beard hold special powers?

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the second ODI between South Africa and Sri Lanka, in East London

Banner of the day
International cricket rarely comes to East London, so when it does the fans go all out. Despite the gloomy weather, Buffalo Park was a sell-out and people packed the grass embankments with umbrellas, picnic baskets and signs of support for the team. One fan thought he was at a rugby match, and had a "Go Bokke" poster, a reference to the Springboks, the South African rugby team. A second sign said: "Mom send money, beer is expensive." But the banner of the day went to this beauty about Hashim Amla: "Some say that Hashim's beard holds special powers. Its street value is higher than Rhino horn. We know him as Hashim the boundarinator Amla."

Catch of the day
Dale Steyn does not have a typical fast bowler's physique. He is not particularly tall or gangly; he is more of a stocky quick with fitness that cannot be matched. He has already pulled off some breathtaking moves in the field against Sri Lanka, but his catch to dismiss Mahela Jayawardene topped them. Jayawardene has struggled for runs but looked in better form at Buffalo Park. He smashed Morne Morkel down the ground for four and then moved swiftly inside the line of the next delivery to glance it down the leg side. The scoop went in the air towards Steyn, who moved to his left, timed his jump and snatched the ball from the sky.

Shot of the day
Hashim Amla has found sublime form in the 50-over format in the last two years and got South Africa off to a dream start. While Graeme Smith searched for areas to score runs and ways not to get out, Amla played some of the shots of the match. Off the 13th ball he faced, he stepped out to a length ball from Nuwan Kulasekara and drove him inside-out over extra cover for six. No watchmaker could time a shot sweeter, and there was an element of brutality about it that you would not expect from a man nicknamed the Monk.

Hiccup of the day
In the last 12 months, South Africa have stumbled in run-chases that should have been strolls three times: against India in Johannesburg, England in Chennai and then New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-final in Dhaka. Surely, there would not be another crumble. When AB de Villiers was run out, after dabbing the ball to short third man, whispers of the dreaded c-word began. South Africa needed 44 runs to win off 56 balls, with six wickets in hand. This time, they got home.

Lost chance of the day
Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, has flattered to deceive throughout this tour, with the only sign of his capabilities being a 79-ball 78 in the third Test. In East London, he wasted another opportunity when he got overanxious after nine run-less balls at the start of Sri Lanka's innings. Dilshan pushed the ball to cover point and hesitated in setting off for a run. By the time he decided to go through with the run, Faf du Plessis had pounced on the ball and thrown down the stumps at the non-striker's end. Dilshan was only just short of the crease, but it meant he had gone through two ODIs of the series without scoring a run.

Bluff of the day
Runs had started to come more easily for Sri Lanka when Dinesh Chandimal decided to get adventurous. He tried to pull a Dale Steyn short ball but edged it past the stumps. Morne Morkel at fine leg gave chase, as did AB de Villiers from behind the stumps. It was always going to be Morkel who reached the ball first, but when de Villiers got halfway to it he turned and affected a mock throw to keep the Sri Lanka batsmen on their toes. The stunt fooled no-one but was a sign of de Villiers' keenness to constantly stay ahead of the game.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 15, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    hashim Amla is realy talented and his belief in religion and the god giving him a confidence that give him a cool and calm.

  • on January 15, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    A dull match, but loved the banner: "Some say that Hashim's beard holds special powers. Its street value is higher than Rhino horn. We know him as Hashim the boundarinator Amla."

  • on January 15, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    offcourse the beard has many streangth it helps to keep cool and calm as u can see amla.

  • on January 15, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    So even Firdose makes mistakes - you are still streets ahead of what I normally see in SA newspapers!

  • Ennarkay on January 15, 2012, 1:55 GMT

    That was the WC quarter-final against NZ that they collapsed in. Not the semi-final.

  • on January 15, 2012, 1:37 GMT

    HIckup of the day - Please correct - It is World Cup Quarter FInal ( Sa vz NZ)

  • Tjoeps on January 14, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Well written again Fridose, your love for cricket is very obvious in your writing. To the Monk, I totally understand that laps in concentrations, to become a father is awesome, well wishes to you and the missus. Nice knock JP, good to see you back in full cry. Like what I see in your field placings AB, you are looking good! All the best for the rest of the tour... Have fun!

  • on January 15, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    hashim Amla is realy talented and his belief in religion and the god giving him a confidence that give him a cool and calm.

  • on January 15, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    A dull match, but loved the banner: "Some say that Hashim's beard holds special powers. Its street value is higher than Rhino horn. We know him as Hashim the boundarinator Amla."

  • on January 15, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    offcourse the beard has many streangth it helps to keep cool and calm as u can see amla.

  • on January 15, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    So even Firdose makes mistakes - you are still streets ahead of what I normally see in SA newspapers!

  • Ennarkay on January 15, 2012, 1:55 GMT

    That was the WC quarter-final against NZ that they collapsed in. Not the semi-final.

  • on January 15, 2012, 1:37 GMT

    HIckup of the day - Please correct - It is World Cup Quarter FInal ( Sa vz NZ)

  • Tjoeps on January 14, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Well written again Fridose, your love for cricket is very obvious in your writing. To the Monk, I totally understand that laps in concentrations, to become a father is awesome, well wishes to you and the missus. Nice knock JP, good to see you back in full cry. Like what I see in your field placings AB, you are looking good! All the best for the rest of the tour... Have fun!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Tjoeps on January 14, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Well written again Fridose, your love for cricket is very obvious in your writing. To the Monk, I totally understand that laps in concentrations, to become a father is awesome, well wishes to you and the missus. Nice knock JP, good to see you back in full cry. Like what I see in your field placings AB, you are looking good! All the best for the rest of the tour... Have fun!

  • on January 15, 2012, 1:37 GMT

    HIckup of the day - Please correct - It is World Cup Quarter FInal ( Sa vz NZ)

  • Ennarkay on January 15, 2012, 1:55 GMT

    That was the WC quarter-final against NZ that they collapsed in. Not the semi-final.

  • on January 15, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    So even Firdose makes mistakes - you are still streets ahead of what I normally see in SA newspapers!

  • on January 15, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    offcourse the beard has many streangth it helps to keep cool and calm as u can see amla.

  • on January 15, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    A dull match, but loved the banner: "Some say that Hashim's beard holds special powers. Its street value is higher than Rhino horn. We know him as Hashim the boundarinator Amla."

  • on January 15, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    hashim Amla is realy talented and his belief in religion and the god giving him a confidence that give him a cool and calm.