Amla faces career Test

2007-11-13 00:00

HASHIM Amla was in no doubt that his Test future was in jeopardy when he walked out to the Wanderers wicket in South Africa's second innings against New Zealand.

“I had not done well in my previous innings, and in the Test environment, if you don't perform, a shadow of doubt is cast as to your suitability in that position,” he told The Witness yesterday.

“I certainly felt it was probably my last opportunity and I think this goes across the board for anyone who finds himself in that position, so at the end of the day you've got to trust your processes.

“I had been feeling good in the nets, so although I went out to bat feeling a bit of pressure I felt I could trust what I had been doing right and should stick with it.”

As the SA number three batsman, Amla was required to right the teetering Proteas ship after the second failed opening partnership of the first Test in Johannesburg. And he did just that, compiling a Test best 176 not out that also featured a memorable 330-run partnership for the third wicket with Jacques Kallis as SA went on to win by 358 runs.

Amla, given a life when he only had two runs on the board, is philosophical about such strokes of good fortune. “Dropped catches happen in cricket and you've got to capitalise on them,” he said. “It's not the first time I've been dropped and I certainly hope it's not the last,” he quipped. “The important thing is to remind yourself that the only delivery that matters is the next one you will face, the previous ball means nothing anymore.”

Amla said that circumstances meant his chances of reaching 200 were remote.

“We were told at tea there would be another 40 minutes of batting, the fielders were on the boundary and when it becomes time to declare the team always comes before the individual,” he said. “It was a special feeling reaching my highest Test score and it could not have come at a better time for myself and the team.”

Amla, the KZN Dolphins batsman, was full of praise for Kallis.

“He's a class player and the way he bats is an example to everyone. During the partnership we kept chatting, reminding each other that the next ball was the most important.

“The pitch had variable bounce, which made batting difficult, but at the same time our bowlers were exceptional and [man-of-the-match] Dale Steyn was magnificent.”

Meanwhile, the Proteas selectors have named an unchanged squad of 12 for the second Test that starts in Centurion on Friday.

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