Former South Africa batter Hashim Amla believes that the result of the Boxing Day Test between India and South Africa was a “fair” one. India thumped the hosts by a comprehensive 113-run margin to become the first Asian team to register a Test win in Centurion.
South Africa had their moments in the game, including a collapse inflicted by Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada on the third morning that saw India being dismissed for 327 after starting the day at 272/3, following an entirely washed-out Day 2.
“It was a fair result,” Amla said. “Centurion is notorious for becoming more difficult to bat as the days progress. So once India won the toss, batted and scored in excess of 300 it was game on for the Protea batters to match that score at the very least,” he was quoted by cricket.co.za.
Proteas batting line-up was found wanting against a spirited Indian attach, which tumbled them out for 197 and 191 in the first and second innings, respectively. Having conceded a massive 130-run lead meant South Africa were chasing a stiff 305 for the win, despite bundling India for 174 in their second innings. It eventually proved much beyond their reach.
“Being 130 runs behind is what really hurt them, and it ended up being the difference,” Amla pointed out. “Day one, the pitch looked best for batting and credit to the Indians for playing disciplined cricket. It’s obvious when teams come to SA that their batsman talk about leaving well outside off stump and that’s probably were the Proteas let themselves down.
“Not challenging the defence enough. That was day one, but on day two, though, they did extremely well to restrict the Indians to 327. They could have got to 400 plus,” he added.
Lauding India for their impressive performance, Amla said: “They have been a strong unit over the last two years or so. They have more experience collectively and it always makes a huge difference when you have runs on the board to back you up.”
I enjoyed watching Temba Bavuma: Hashim Amla
Amla, who scored over 9000 Test runs for South Africa, appreciated vice-captain Temba Bavuma for his application as he was the only batter alongside skipper Dean Elgar who was able to counter the Indian bowlers for a brief passage of play.
“The bowlers all had their moments. Lungi (Ngidi), KG (Kagiso Rabada) and the youngster (Marco) Jansen stand out of course. However, in a relatively low scoring match I enjoyed watching Temba Bavuma. He always looks like he has time and seldom troubled.”
With two Tests to go, Amla admitted that making a comeback is still possible but will be extremely difficult for South Africa. “There’s certainly a way back but it’s going to take laser-like focus for extended periods and a touch a fortune,” he said.