Amla stands tall as India fight back

Hashim Amla (Gallo)
Hashim Amla (Gallo)

Johannesburg – There was drama aplenty in the second session of the third Test between the Proteas and India, with the Decision Review System (DRS) prominent as India bowled their way back into the contest.

At tea, South Africa were 143/6, still 44 runs behind, with Hashim Amla (54*) at the crease having been at the centre of the DRS mayhem.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/34) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/37) were superb, maximising the conditions that are still making batting seem impossible at times.

Amla, though, was up for the fight and he brought up his 37th Test half-century in 98 balls. With the rest of South Africa’s top order failing, Amla’s knock has kept the hosts in the game.

Having resumed after lunch at 81/3, the Proteas had AB de Villiers and Amla at the wicket after Kagiso Rabada (30) had played a potentially game-changing night-watchman’s knock.

The first issue involving DRS happened shortly after the resumption when De Villiers, on 0* at the time, was rapped on the pads by a vicious in-swinger from Ishant Sharma.

To the naked eye, it looked like it had ducked in far too much and umpire Aleem Dar agreed. After a brief consultation, the Indians brains trust decided not to review the decision.

The replays that followed left Kohli livid as three ‘reds’ on the DRS revealed that De Villiers would have been on his way had the decision been sent upstairs.

It didn’t hurt the visitors too much, though, as De Villiers was out for just 5 when he was clean bowled by a perfect in-swinger from Kumar.

At the other end, Amla had his fair share of flirtations with DRS. He had already survived one Indian review in the first session, and he had two more big scares in the second.

In the 35th over, just before De Villiers was bowled, Amla was hit on the roll by Kumar and the appeal that followed was a big one.

Umpire Ian Gould decided it was too high, and India went straight upstairs for the review. An ‘umpire’s call’ showed the ball just clipping the top of the stumps, as was the case with Amla before lunch, and the decision stood.

Then, after De Villiers was removed, Amla was given ‘out’ LBW off Kumar when he was on 41, and this time it was his turn to review. The rub of the green was going Amla’s way, and DRS showed that the ball had struck him outside the line of off-stump and was missing.

Faf du Plessis (8), who never looked comfortable, was then bowled leaving an in-ducker from Jasprit Bumrah.

That brought the out-of-form Quinton de Kock to the wicket, and he too survived an Indian review for LBW off Mohammed Shami that was never hitting the stumps.

De Kock (8) could not cash in, though, and he became Bumrah’s second victim when he inside-edged through to Parthiv Patel behind the stumps.

At 125/6, South Africa were still 62 runs behind and India had the ascendency.  

Vernon Philander (13*) joined Amla, and together that pair was able to get through to tea.

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