ALL HAIL KING HASH
South Africa’s Hashim Amla, who scored a century at The Wanderers yesterday in what was his 100th Test match. At stumps on day one against Sri Lanka, Amla was 125 not out.
HASHIM Amla celebrated becoming the eighth South African to play 100 Tests by becoming the eighth player to score a century in that landmark match when he reached three figures in the final Test against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers yesterday.
Amla ended the first day of the third Test against the Sri Lankans on 125 not out.
His early struggles were offset by a fluent innings by JP Duminy, who also registered a hundred. He was dismissed for 155 in the penultimate over of the day. The Proteas finished on 338/3.
Duminy wouldn’t have minded not being in the spotlight, which had shone on Amla all day from an hour before play started, when he received gifts from Cricket South Africa which included a gold coin and a specially embroidered shirt that marked the occasion of his milestone.
“I’m really grateful to reach 100 Tests. But to be very honest, in the last couple of Tests I’ve not scored runs, (so coming into the game) my focus was on scoring runs,” said Amla.
It was the 26th hundred of his illustrious career, but the 33-year-old’s first in almost a year, a sign of how difficult 2016 was for him in the Test arena.
“I wanted to have a quiet build-up. There’s been some frustration, having not got runs in the last couple of games and not contributing to the team’s success. I wanted my focus to be as pure as possible, no side attractions, razzmatazz,” he said. “I personally am really grateful to get to 100 games, and no disrespect to it, but more importantly I wanted to work on my game with as little distraction as possible.”
Teammates have been at pains to highlight that Amla’s mood has barely changed, even as he hasn’t registered the returns he has become accustomed to with the bat. He has been generous with his time and with dispensing any assistance, with Stephen Cook saying that – for him – it felt like Amla was already 30 not out even before he faced a ball yesterday.
Cricket SA chief executive Haroon Lorgat paid special tribute to Amla before the start of play.
“Hashim has entertained us all with many memorable moments during his outstanding career and will undoubtedly continue to do so for some time to come,” said Lorgat.
“Inevitably, the memories flood back to his triple century at The Oval when the Proteas equalled a world record by winning a Test match after losing only two wickets; his innings of 196, the highest for the Proteas against Australia since unity, that helped clinch the series win Down Under; and his century in Sri Lanka when he led the Proteas to only their second Test series win in that country.”
“Possibly, most important of all, he has been a role model to the nation, particularly to the youth, for his humble nature and the balanced outlook he brings to all aspects of his life,” he added.
Tributes poured in from teammates on social media after Amla reached his century, with Dale Steyn tweeting: “Stoked for the special man @amlahash,” and AB de Villiers, who put in an appearance at the ground yesterday as the teams were warming up, also tweeting: “Hashim Amla. Special man, special player!!!”
Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith, the last cricketer to score a century in his 100th Test (against England at The Oval in 2012), also tweeted his congratulations: “Welcome to the club @amlahash #Hash100.”
GRATEFUL: Hashim Amla, pictured here celebrating his score of 250 against England at The Oval in 2012, notched up a century in his 100th Test for South Africa yesterday.