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
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.