South Africa will not sink into their shells against spin despite their aggression resulting in a third sub-par batting performance in the series. After limping to 184 and 109 in Mohali, South Africa managed to creep up to 214 in Bangalore but Hashim Amla said the team's approach will not change in the next two matches.
"You've got to be positive in everything you do. If the guys got out playing a positive shot, I am happy because at least he tried to take the game forward and tried to score runs. That's the name of the game," Amla said
Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Dane Vilas, JP Duminy and even AB de Villiers have all got out attacking this series instead of protecting their positions. Had they shown a bit more staying power, Amla believes South Africa could have made better use of conditions which had nothing sinister about them.
"If I had won the toss, I would have batted first anyway. I think it was a good wicket," he said. "We just didn't get any partnerships going. AB was exceptional as always. Unfortunately no one stuck around with him long enough to post a big total."
In South Africa's haste to get runs before getting out, they did not realise that the turn they were trying to get away from was not really there. They were playing for imagined conditions instead of the actual ones, and have already had four days to assess why they let mind get over matter.
Now, they have a week to reverse that thought process, but Amla has cautioned against too much thinking before South Africa get to Nagpur. "We've had a lot of time to reflect but we don't want to over-reflect," he said.
"It's pretty simple: you try and be as positive as possible and sometimes it was the lack of turn that outdid us. You don't overdo it, you try and keep the game as simple as possible. We've had three innings that haven't gone to our plan and I am sure in the Nagpur Test, hopefully we come good. We have talked about it but you can't over talk about something and complicate it more than it is."
An obvious complication is the composition of South Africa's XI. For the first time since the retirements of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, it seems to lack something, especially as du Plessis and Amla himself are not firing. That leaves the top four shaky, but Amla dismissed any thoughts of change, especially in the top two, just yet.
"I've always felt opening batting is probably the most difficult job in Test cricket. Sometimes you've got to field for 150 overs and then you've got 10 minutes to put your pads on. It is quite a demanding position to be in but Dean and Stiaan are our best openers and they will do a great job for us," Amla said. "The fact that myself and Faf in this game haven't got going, we only have ourselves to blame. No one else."
Still, Amla was careful not to condemn his team too much. He even left open the possibility that South Africa could have come back into the Bangalore Test. "Although we got bowled out for 220 odd and India were in a good position at the end for the day, Test matches are not always won on the first day. There was a lot of time left for us to claw our way back into the game. You never know what could have happened."