Amla plays down exploits

2014-12-18 18:45
Hashim Amla (AFP)

Pretoria - Despite notching up the highest score for a South African captain on home soil, with his knock of 208 against the West Indies on day two of the first Test in Centurion on Thursday, Hashim Amla said his main motivation was always to ensure that the Proteas got into a good position.

As it happened: Proteas v West Indies - Day 2

"I'm really happy to have got some runs on the board, and I didn't think any further than it being another innings for me in Test cricket," said Amla afterwards.

"I was just really glad that the team is in a good position."

The skipper's score was also the highest ever at the ground as well as against the West Indies in all Tests between the nations.

Nevertheless, Amla remained humble: "Records are always going to be broken, so you can't attach any sentimental value to these type of things," he said.

Rain brought a premature end to play on the day just after South Africa, having reached 552 for five, declared their innings closed.

Speaking after the day's play, Amla also dismised concerns that his position as captain could affect his battling.

With the current Test his fourth game in charge, the 31-year-old said it was not something about which he worried.

"I still maintain it's early days in my captaincy. The more I do it, the less of a distraction it becomes."

Not to be left out, Stiaan van Zyl (101) brought up his maiden Test century on debut, sharing in a 155 run stand from 221 balls with Amla for the fifth wicket.

Van Zyl took 11 balls to get off the mark, and said he had been feeling the pressure when he came to the crease.

"I just said to myself that it's a big stage but it's still a cricket ball. I was very nervous before I faced my first ball; my gloves were wet from sweat," said Van Zyl.

"But scoring a century on debut is a dream start."

Van Zyl came in after Amla and AB De Villiers had put on a 308-run record fourth wicket partnership in Tests for South Africa, which made for the perfect setting for the Cobras batsman to enter the scene.

"Walking on at 365 for three was a great platform which took the pressure off, so that I could play my own game," said Van Zyl.

Amla had been dropped on 180 shortly after the lunch break as the Proteas batsman attempted to clear midwicket, but Leon Johnson could not take the diving catch.

The 371 ball stay at the crease, lasting nearly eight hours, came to an end for Amla when he was caught on the long on boundary off the bowling of Sulieman Benn.

In total, Amla struck 22 fours in his record-breaking innings.

Van Zyl ended not out from 130 balls, striking 15 fours when the declaration came. Quinton de Kock was also unbeaten, on 18 at the other end.

In the first session of play, De Villiers was out for 152 from 235 balls, playing a flashy drive off Benn and then being caught at point.

De Villiers finished with 16 fours and two sixes as he managed a commendable strike rate of 64 against a tiring West Indies attack.

Read more on:    proteas  |  hashim amla  |  pretoria  |  cricket

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