Amla, Du­miny tons turn it on

JP and Hashim put Sri Lankan bowlers to the sword as Proteas dom­i­nate play on a per­fect day at the Bull­ring

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS

BACK WITH A BANG: South Africa’s Hashim Amla cel­e­brates scor­ing a cen­tury in his 100th Test match for his coun­try. The stylish bats­man had been go­ing through a lean run re­cently but was back to his best yes­ter­day. his 26th hun­dred of his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer half-way through the af­ter­noon ses­sion to in­duce a stand­ing ova­tion from the Wan­der­ers crowd be­fore fin­ish­ing the day un­scathed on 125 (221b, 16x4).

The dan­ger­ous duo bat­tered the Sri Lankan bowl­ing at­tack in the af­ter­noon ses­sion be­fore Du­miny edged a Lahiru Ku­mara de­liv­ery to Kusal Mendis at se­cond slip de­part­ing on 155 (221b, 19x4) just be­fore the close of play.

The cricket gods seem to smile on Amla as he was given an early life­line in the over be­fore lunch when Dhanan­jaya de Silva dropped the South African on 5.

Af­ter sur­viv­ing a few early ner­vous mo­ments, in­clud­ing the dropped catch, he started to play with more ease as he worked the ball around the ground.

Time seemed to slow as he got closer to his cen­tury but in typ­i­cal Amla fash­ion he would not be rushed.

Amla reached the mile­stone on his own terms and in style play­ing a Ran­gana Herath de­liv­ery down the ground for four.

Du­miny’s equally im­pres­sive knock was al­most dwarfed by Amla’s shin­ing mo­ment but his con­tri­bu­tion to Amla’s achieve­ment should not be un­der­es­ti­mated as he raced to the se­cond high­est score of his Test ca­reer.

Amla’s calm de­meanour is spo­ken of fondly by for­mer and cur­rent team­mates but on this spe­cial day there was a clear role re­ver­sal as Du­miny al­lowed the man of the mo­ment to re­gain his con­fi­dence. It was the per­fect com­bi­na­tion, on a per­fect day for one of South Africa’s great­est ever bats­men as Amla demon­strated the grace that fans from around the globe have come to love. It was an im­por­tant in­nings for the Mighty Hash, scor­ing his first cen­tury in al­most a year, while eras­ing the mem­o­ries of a lean patch. Du­miny and Amla re­built South Africa’s in­nings af­ter the two open­ers de­parted shortly be­fore the lunch break shar­ing a third-wicket part­ner­ship of 292. Opt­ing for an all-out pace at­tack, Proteas skip­per Faf du Plessis raised some eye­brows when he de­cided to bat first af­ter win­ning the toss.

The re­turn of Wayne Par­nell and with Duanne Olivier handed his first Test cap, the Proteas would go into the match with­out a front­line spin­ner.

De­spite the early de­par­ture of Stephen Cook (10) and Dean El­gar (27) on 45/2, Amla and Du­miny’s stand vin­di­cated Du Plessis.

South Africa got off to a slow start be­fore An­gelo Mathews trapped Cook leg in front, be­fore El­gar fol­lowed suit when he got a thick edge to Dimuth Karunaratne at slip off Ku­mar.

Olivier, who has been in good form dur­ing the do­mes­tic sea­son as the lead­ing wicket-taker in the com­pe­ti­tion with 28 vic­tims at an av­er­age of 21.60, was se­lected ahead of Ke­shav Ma­haraj.

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