It was not too long ago when South Africa found themselves in dire straits with a woeful 0-3 defeat in India followed by an abject 1-2 loss at home against England. Senior batsman Hashim Amla has pointed to such lean phases and dismissed any thoughts of seeking pleasure from Australia’s painful present-day state.
With less than a week to go before the Proteas participate in their first-ever day-night Test, the 33-year old reflected on the after-effects of the ball-tampering allegation against skipper Faf du Plessis and their consequent eagerness to channel the anger onto the field.
When asked about the cloud of pessimism hanging over Australian cricket, Amla empathised, “I've got a lot of joy enjoying my teammates and the position we are in but I take no gratification from the difficulties of others. We are really happy and glad that we are 2-0 up in the series. We've got lots to achieve and we want to keep enjoying each other's company and keep supporting each other which is the most important thing in any team environment. Hopefully, we can continue this until the end of the next Test match.”
Alluding to South Africa’s struggles during the previous season, he added, “When you've gone through difficult times, you appreciate the good times. You remember the difficult times because it could fall on you at some other stage.”
Despite being bowled out for 242 and watching David Warner plunder them in the opening day of the series, the Proteas showed their resilience by cruising to a 177-run victory in Perth. With overhead conditions facilitating seam movement, they preyed on Australia’s frailties against the moving ball to romp home by an innings margin and in the process sealed their third successive series triumph on Australian soil.
Amla felt, “Winning in Australia is a big moment for any team. I have been fortunate to have it three times now and this time is just as good as any of the other two. We've come here with a young squad and these guys have really made a name for themselves in world cricket and in Australia.”
Even though the visitors might hold all the aces while entering into the final match, the Aussies have the prior experience of playing with the pink ball. The controversy surrounding their method to shine the ball could also add to the Proteas’ apprehensions.
However, the elegant right-hander believed, “I don't think you would like to be in the nets facing our bowlers at the moment. It has been a really tough ordeal. With the pink ball – if it does move around in the evening, it will be a lot harder. We are very fortunate to have a very strong bowling attack who have bowled exceptionally well to put us in the position we are in. We've come here on a mission. Part of the mission has been accomplished which is wonderful but three-nil sounds better than two-nil or 2-1.”
The third Test between Australia and South Africa will be played under lights at the Adelaide Oval from Thursday.