I usually keep things professional but the mammoth innings that the South African star batsman Amla and De Villiers played at the fourth and final test against India compelled me to write this article from personal view point as a cricket enthusiast. The time when people were busy trolling Hashim Amla for his slowest knock on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, I was quietly enjoying the sublime defence of this extremely talented cricketer.
Chasing a target of 480 run in the fourth and last innings and that too at the Feroz Shah Kotla’s spinning track in Delhi, is certainly impossible. Only conclusion about the match was India’s victory. But the way visitors fought back on the last two days was truly commendable. Whether you like to hear it or not, but African cricketers have shown immense determination and tremendous courage to play defensively at a tough situation. They almost stood like a unbreakable mountain for long period of time until India claimed victory at the last session of day 5.
It was the opener Temba Bavuma 34 (117b, 4s x 4, 6s x 1), who started it all. The youngster showed extraordinary guts while playing out the unplayable deliveries of R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Ishant Sharma and others and ensured that hosts didn’t get any easy wickets.
But Hashim Amla did the unthinkable. He straightaway turned into a wall and surprised everyone with his defensive shots and non-shots. He played dot balls so well that at times even Indian Captain Virat Kohli seemed highly frustrated. It is well known that test match is the toughest format of the game and Amla demonstrated the same using his astute defence technique. Soon, De Villiers joined the party and did exactly what Amla was doing from the other end.
What surprised me is the fact that many cricket experts were calling it a negative cricket; then what is positive cricket – losing wickets frequently? It doesn’t matter, whatever you say, but Hashim Amla and De Villiers heralded a new dawn in test cricket when it can be imagined that batsmen play for almost entire day without any worry of even scoring singles – to save a test.
The greatness of Amla’s innings can be very well justified by the fact that he came to crease at the end of 4th over and got out on the final day at the 85th over of the match managing to stay at the crease for long 81-over without losing his patience. This is something that really inspired the fans and young cricketers worldwide.
Though, Protease defeat was certain but no one expected them to drag it so far. Can you imagine the explosive AB de Villiers presented his unusual talent of sticking to the ground without scoring and relentlessly playing dot balls? The experienced duo of Amla and De Villiers added painstaking 27 runs in 250 plus deliveries when it was of utmost importance.
Hashim Amla’s sedate knock of 25 off 244 deliveries finally came to end when off-spinner Ravinder Jadeja cleaned up his off-stump on the last day of the final test. Ab De Villiers also played a patient master knock of 43* off 297 balls. Though, India convincingly won the match by 337 runs but you have to salute Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers for their valiant effort and indomitable spirits. They definitely conquered the impossible as the duo played whopping 541 delivered (around 90-overs) for South Africa using their thorough determination, guts and flawless defence. Hats off to these legends!