Cape Town – Hashim Amla will enter his prestigious 100th
Test at the Wanderers, at least partly pressured additionally by the need to
recapture form, with some conflicting thoughts surrounding his nine prior Tests
at the venue.
The good news is that his Proteas record with the blade at
the Bullring surpasses his overall average after 99 Test matches … if by the
skinniest margin possible.
Whereas his career figure stands at 49.45, Amla currently
averages 49.46 at the famous Highveld venue, scene of the dead-rubber third
encounter with Sri Lanka from Thursday (10:00 start).
So based on statistical history, his chances of regaining
his best standards in this match after an uncharacteristically modest trot must
be considered pretty bright … albeit that, speaking of brightness, volatile
Johannesburg weather at present could make life fairly challenging for batsmen
over the next few days.
On the down side – and the veteran right-hander has never
been branded anything less than a wholly loyal team player – the South African
win record in the nine Tests he’s experienced at the Wanderers is a chequered
one for a home ground of the national team.
It stands at exactly 50 percent: four wins, four losses and
Amla has savoured Bullring victories over New Zealand twice
(May 2006 and November 2007) and once each against England (January 2010) and
Pakistan (February 2013).
The defeats have come against Australia twice (February 2009
and November 2011), India (December 2006) and England in the last Test staged
at the ground, in January last year.
Only stalemate of the nine is the one against India in
Amla’s first of two centuries and biggest personal innings
yet at the venue, came against the Black Caps in November 2007.
After respective low-scoring first innings, the Proteas burst
into life during their second knock when Amla (176 not out) and Jacques Kallis
(186) helped them amass a formidable 422 for three declared, en route to a
His third-wicket partnership with Kallis was worth 330 runs,
albeit short of a national record.
The other Amla ton at the Wanderers came in an exciting,
ding-dong Test against the Aussies in November 2011, when Mitchell Johnson and
now injury-bedevilled Pat Cummins spearheaded a particularly slippery visiting
That didn’t stop Amla from plundering a courageous 105 in
the decent SA second innings of 339 all out: most thought it would be enough to
win the match, but Australia clawed their way to a target of 310 -- eight down
-- and a praiseworthy triumph of their own.
Hashim Amla Test
record at Wanderers (from earliest):
56 & 28 v NZ (won by four wickets)
0 & 17 v India (lost by 123 runs)
12 & 176no v NZ (won by 358 runs)
1 & 57 v Australia (lost by 162 runs)
75 v England (won by inns and 74 runs)
19 & 105 v Australia (lost by two wickets)
37 & 74no v Pakistan (won by 211 runs)
36 & 4 v India (draw)
40 & 5 v England (lost by seven wickets)
*Follow our chief
writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing