Hashim Amla practises his forward defensive

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Facing his 46th delivery, Hashim Amla inside-edged the ball past his stumps and into space. Trawling through his memory banks, he happened upon the correct course of action and moved his body up to the other end. With the ball still enjoying a rare moment of liberation, he then jogged back.

Three balls later, still high on adrenaline, he edged one through the slips and increased his total by a further 50 per cent. Somewhat dizzy, he then played out two successive maidens before accidentally defending the ball into a gap off the final ball of the next over, which forced him to score another single.

Another maiden followed, but then came the big moment; an event no-one thought they’d see. Presented with an inviting ball on his pads, Hashim Amla deliberately scored a run. In fact, he scored two and was so scarred by the experience that he then bedded down for 39 successive dot balls.

Having helped deliver South Africa’s first wicketless session of the series, Amla emerged after tea and promptly hit a four. It seems he had retrieved his gearstick during the interval – and he wasn’t afraid to use it. Upon the dismissal of Temba Bavuma shortly afterwards, he employed that gearstick to change back into neutral.


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  1. Ah, what joy! I only caught the last session and it has convinced me to “work from home” tomorrow. Such impressive Inverse strike-rates don’t happen often.

    1. Partnership:

      AB de Villiers
      Hashim Amla

      23 runs
      176 balls

      If that’s not the greatest partnership in cricket history, then some other partnership is. I mean, let’s not go mad here – hyperbole is for losers. But it is the best partnership in a long time, because fundamentally it is based on the exact reversal of what these players do.

      Be good at something. Then do the opposite brilliantly well. That’s class, that is.

      1. Reduce test match duration, says some “international coach”.
        Ha ha!
        This here is the reason to do the exact opposite.

  2. Oh dear oh dear, Deep Cower and Bert have both gone off on one.

    The innings does not have the “inverse strike rates” of the norm, nor is it the “exact reversal”.

    These Saffers don’t usually score 176 runs in 23 balls, now do they? That would be impossible.

    Normally I would at this juncture call upon Bert to explain the situation in reasoned, well-thought through mathematical language, but on this occasion Bert is one of the offenders.

    Where do we turn for solace now?

    1. It isn’t even unexpected, they have dead batted for a day and a half to draw a game twice before – Adelaide 2012 and Colombo 2014. Johannesburg 2013 also saw them drop anchor after having given the chase a reasonable go.

      Neither of these players have previous for rampant scoring in a test match. De Villiers has some frenzied ODI knocks, but in Tests he’s never felt the need to blast his way to a century, because he’s a better, more adaptable player than that.

  3. Now, let’s see if they can bat through after tea. Five wickets in hand. I reckon if they can see out the first 31 balls they’ll be OK.

      1. At least AB will be exhausted.

        Although unfortunately, I don’t think such paltry concepts as dueness, Ian Bell, or the laws of physics have much effect on AB.

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