Hashim Amla, the South African batsman, has conceded that some of his team-mates could have avoided getting dismissed to ordinary shots following the first day’s play against New Zealand at Kingsmead in Durban on Friday (August 19). Opting to bat first, South Africa managed 236 runs for eight wickets on Day 1, before bad light forced an early finish. Amla top-scored for South Africa with a half-century and was supported only by Temba Bavuma to an extent, who made 46.
After putting in the hard yards against the new ball, opener Dean Elgar played a needless drive against a delivery that was bowled full and wide of off stump by Doug Bracewell, and edged it to second slip. The dismissals of JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock also happened beacuse of poor strokes, as the experienced left-hander top-edged a bouncer while de Kock perished while trying to take on Santner after already hitting him for two fours in the over.
“Quite a few of us got out to deliveries in ways that could have been avoided,” Amla said. “I tried to bat normally. It wasn’t a conscious effort to score quickly. If I look at anybody else, they were hitting the half-volleys and cut shots. That’s what you need to do to score runs.”
Amla also defended de Kock’s aggressive nature after the wicketkeeper batsman’s run-a-ball 33, and hopes he can bat longer in the future. “Someone like Quinny has been around for three or four years and he is aggressive by nature,” Amla said. “He plays that way. He got a quick 30 and had he not got out, we would have been in a good position. As he becomes more experienced, he will work it out. He played exceptionally well to get us some momentum, but, unfortunately, he didn’t bat through.”
New Zealand seamer Neil Wagner, who picked up three wickets for the visitors praised fellow pacer Trent Boult, who bowled a brilliant spell up front to set it up for his side. The left-arm seamer bowled three maidens in his first spell of eight overs and conceded only eight runs. He also went on to pick up the wicket of opener Stephen Cook in that spell and then claimed the big wicket of Amla for 53.
“Trent bowled really well to start, and that set the day up for us. He looked like he was in great rhythm,” Wagner said.
While Amla is banking on the tailenders to add some crucial runs on the second day, Wagner is hopeful that his side can pick up the two remaining wickets as soon as possible and the batsmen can show good application and build a healthy lead.
“With the wicket having a little bit more bounce here, your margin of error was a little smaller in Bulawayo,” the 30-year-old said. “As a bowler, you can get a little bit carried away here, but I thought everybody bowled exceptionally well in partnerships today. We are pretty happy with where we are, but we know we still need to get two crucial wickets tomorrow and then go in with the bat and apply ourselves.”