Amla Puts South Africa in Recordbooks
By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
South African cricketer Hashim Amla scored the first ever test triple century for South Africa, en route to their first ever test victory over England. Amla made 311 not out as South Africa made 2-637 declared, with a first innings lead of 252.England were 4-102 at the close, needing another 150 runs to avoid an innings defeat. The test series, however, came to a close, in South Africaâ€™s favor, the very next day.
Amla and Jacques Kallis (182 not out) batted with relentless concentration and skill as they put on an unbeaten 377 for the third wicket, a record for any wicket in matches between England and South Africa. Whereas England had taken only one wicket in more than 13 hours of play between the early dismissal of Alviro Petersen on Friday and the touristsâ€™ declaration at tea on Sunday, the hosts were almost immediately in trouble in their second innings.
First innings century-maker Alastair Cook was caught behind off Vernon Philander off the eighth ball of the innings without scoring – the third opening batsman in the match to be dismissed for a duck. Dale Steyn then produced a superb away swinger to have Jonathan Trott caught behind. Kevin Pietersen played some bold strokes, hitting three boundaries in an innings of 16 before he played down the wrong line against Morne Morkel and had his middle stump knocked out of the ground.
England captain Andrew Strauss battled for more than two hours, making 27, before he top-edged a sweep against leg-spinner Imran Tahir and was caught at square leg. Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara batted out the day but will resume on Monday with England still needing a big effort to avoid defeat in the first match of a three-match series.
South Africaâ€™s previous highest score was 278 not out by AB de Villiers against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2010-11. Amla batted for a total of 13 hours and nine minutes, facing 529 balls and hitting 35 fours, and gave only one difficult chance, to Strauss at slip off Ravi Bopara on Friday afternoon, when he was on 40. Amla reached his double century off 392 balls and needed only another 123 deliveries to reach 300 with his 35th boundary.
England set ultra-defensive fields but could not halt the flow of runs. With Amla on 299, England captain Andrew Strauss brought the field up to stop a single but the batsman played a rare lofted drive for four over cover off Tim Bresnan to earn a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd. And Amla was subsequently applauded country-wide, as his accomplishment put him on the front pages of South African newspapers, ahead of even golfing countryman Ernie Els who had just won the British Open.