Cape Town - Hashim Alma emulated the performance of Neil McKenzie at Chennai in 2008 by scoring a century and a 90 in the same Test match before Kagiso Rabada moved on to the brink of a notable double on the fourth day of the final Sunfoil Test match at SuperSport Park on Monday.
Amla (96 off 199 balls, 11 fours) didn’t just anchor the South African second innings after Stephen Cook and AB de Villiers had been dismissed in quick succession but batted through the pain barrier as he took blows on both hands.
The value of his performance in this match can be seen in the fact that he has been involved in the only two century partnerships – 202 with Cook in the first innings and 117 with Temba Bavuma in the second innings.
Bavuma finished unbeaten on 78 (154 balls, 9 fours and a six) to take his average for the series to 49.5.
He enabled the Castle Lager Proteas to declare on 248/5 and set England an improbable 382 for victory on a pitch of variable bounce and increasing turn.
By the close they were in serious trouble at 52/3 and it could have been worse as Joe Root survived a stumping chance to Quinton de Kock off the bowling of Dane Piedt.
Rabada took two of the three wickets to fall and thus has nine in the match. One more will give him his first ten-fer haul and will also make him the leading wicket-taker in the series as he is currently level on 18 with Stuart Broad and has played one match less.
If there have been major positives for the Proteas in spite of the disappointment of the series defeat it has been the emergence of Rabada and Bavuma as international cricketers of quality.
Another recent positive is that they have made almost 700 runs over their two innings in this match without AB de Villiers contributing anything. It suggests that there is a lot more stability in the top order than there has been in recent times and that there is no longer a reliance on one or two batsmen.