|< Prev||Next >|
Hashim Amla produced one of the most incredible innings of his career, batting through the entire third day of the first test against England at the Oval to end the day unbeaten on 183 as South Africa took an 18 run first innings lead with 8 wickets still in hand. Amla had two partners in crime, with skipper Graeme Smith making an impressive 131, sharing in a 259 run partnership, and legendary allrounder Jacques Kallis making an unbeaten 82, adding 143 runs for the third wicket. While a draw looks like the most likely outcome in this game, South Africa can put some pressure on the hosts by getting a move on tomorrow, and batting England out of the game.
The first session of the third and possibly the most crucial day of the first test between England and South Africa was marked by a smartly crafted century by South African skipper Graeme Smith on the occasion of his 100th test. The day got underway with the overnight duo of Smith and Hashim Amla, taking guard again on a bright sunny morning at The Oval.
The two batsmen were watchful early on and carefully propelled the innings beyond the 100 run mark. Meanwhile, they also brought up their fifties with Amla getting to the half-century mark first, from 110 balls and then Smith raising his bat, after having faced 160 deliveries. The South African skipper pressed on the accelerator after the drinks break and in no time raced away to his 25th test ton, that was studded with 16 fours, taking just 41 balls to jump from the 50 run mark to three figures. The tourists were placed at 187-1 when the teams left the ground for the lunch break.
The Smith-Amla partnership continued to rack up the runs after lunch with Amla being the aggressor in the initial period, racing to his century well before the second new ball became available.
South Africa though soon reverted to the tried and tested after that initial spurt as both batsmen buckled down once again, and looked intent on making the most of this opportunity on a pitch where there were runs to be had.
In the 15 overs running up to the new ball, South Africa added a patient 36 runs. England took the brand new cherry as soon as it became available, and that brought another flurry of boundaries with the ball coming on nicely onto the bat. The new ball though also eventually provided the breakthrough as a mixture of inside edge and pad saw a Tim Bresnan delivery make its way back onto Graeme Smith's stumps, gently enough to dislodge the bails, ending his epic innings at 131.
With the scoreboard reading 260-2, out walked arguably the best batsmen in this Proteas line-up in Jacques Kallis, offering no respite whatsoever to England. Amla and Kallis saw off the 5 odd overs remaining till the tea break as South Africa went to the interval at 277-2, hoping to take charge in the final session.
South Africa again started well in the final session, bringing up their 300 inside 6 overs to perhaps signal their intent of hunting down England's first innings score today itself.
It didn't take Kallis long to get into his stride, and the champion batsman, who has a surprisingly ordinary average in England had come into the series with a definite strategy of how he would play differently in this series. Kallis took an off-stump guard and looked to get outside the off-stump at every opportunity to ensure that he ruled lbw out as a way of getting dismissed in this game. The strategy paid off, and Kallis brought up an attractive half-century in 94 balls courtesy of 7 hits to the fence. Third man and square of the wicket on the leg side were two very productive areas for the legendary allrounder and he looked on course to becoming the third centurion of the Proteas innings.
Amla meanwhile continued to bat with the same focus and energy he had when he was forced to come in early yesterday evening. A double hundred looked all but certain, and with the batsmen showing no signs of tiredness, one wondered how many more he would go on to score.
As the day wore on, England's bowlers started to tire and Andrew Strauss tossed the ball to Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott in an attempt to perhaps steal a wicket from somewhere. The wicket never came though, as South Africa coasted past England's first innings score of 385 and finished the day 18 runs ahead at 403-2.
With just two days left in this match it will be hard for either side to force a result, considering the wicket is still very good for batting. A few deliveries did misbehave, but most of these were wide outside the right-handers off-stump and should have little bearing on the contest.
South Africa though can try and force a result by picking up the pace tomorrow and establishing a 200+ lead by Tea, giving themselves four sessions to perhaps get England out and score some runs in the final innings. That being said, a draw still looks the most likely outcome.
England : A Strauss(c), A Cook, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, R Bopara, M Prior(wk), T Bresnan, G Swann, S Broad, J Anderson
South Africa : G Smith(c), A Petersen, H Amla, J Kallis, AB de Villiers(wk), J Rudolph, JP Duminy, V Philander, D Steyn, M Morkel, I Tahir
England 1st innings 385 all out (125.5 Overs, 3.05 rpo)
A Cook 115 (295) M Morkel 4-72
J Trott 71 (162) J Kallis 2-38
South Africa 1st innings 403-2 (135 Overs, 2.98 rpo)
G Smith 131 (273) J Anderson 1-90
H Amla 183* (369) T Bresnan 1-77
File Photograph Copyright:Â·Oliver Florence
- 23/07/2012 14:49 - Steyn, Tahir bowl South Africa to Innings victory at The Oval
- 22/07/2012 18:04 - England 150 runs behind with 6 wickets in hand as Amla triple century puts Proteas on top in 1st Test
- 22/07/2012 10:27 - Kemar Roach marks return to form and fitness with 4-fer against New Zealand