Amla and de Villiers light up Wanderers

The Wanderers was bathed in a sea of pink, in aid of Breast Cancer, when Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers came to the party with a fourth-wicket partnership of 139 on the third-day of the second and final test against Australia on Saturday.

When bad light forced the players off the “Bullring” with 24 overs still to be completed, South Africa were 229 for three, for an overall lead off 199, with Amla and de Villiers unbeaten on 89 and 70 respectively.

Amla had struck 13 fours off 206-balls in a stay of 266 minutes and de Villiers’ sojourn at the crease was just under three hours and he had found the ropes on 10 occasions and launched one almighty six over cow-corner.

However, the day was not just about cricket but Cancer Awareness and a crowd of nearly 16 000 were not only enthralled by what was going on on the field but had enabled BIDvest to donate a tad under R320 000 to the Cancer Association and the McGrath Foundation.

South Africa started the day with a clean slate but Graeme Smith got the ball rolling with a single down to fine-leg, followed by a similar shot from Jacques Rudolph.

Coasting along
The pair were coasting along at over five runs to the over but then disaster struck. Rudolph misjudged a snorter from Pat Cummins, which climbed on him, only to find the leading edge of the opener’s bat and was caught behind by Brad Haddin.

However, the opening partnership had realised 40 at nearly a run-a-ball.

Rudolph’s dismissal brought Amla to the crease and he and Smith brought up the 50 in the 11th over of the day.

Smith, in an effort to keep the board ticking over, suffered a slight aberration and wafted at a Nathan Lyons delivery, only to loft a dolly of a catch to Phil Hughes at backward-point.

Jacques Kallis’s introduction to the crease was met with a series of short balls from Cummins, which had the classy batsman defending furiously.

Lack of concentration
However, the bowler was not to be denied, eventually getting Kallis to poke at an angled delivery and edge it to Michael Clarke at first-slip.

The post lunch period saw a period of consolidation with both Amla and de Villiers tentative in their approach but a lack of concentration on both their parts saw the visitors appealing for reviews, after what could only be considered poor decisions by the batsmen, playing strokes, which are normally only seen in the abridged forms of the game. However, the reviews went in favour of the hosts.

Amla, nicknamned “Mr Reliable” eventually settled down to the task at hand, going to his 20th test half-century with a beautifully executed cover-drive, which scuttled to the boundary.

The next milestone was De Villiers’ 24th test 50, brought about by a beautiful lofted extra-cover drive off Lyon.—Sapa


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